Sep 13, 2012

Constituency Statements – Grayndler Electorate: Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (09:33): Just over a week ago, I had the honour of meeting Justin Kwon, a year 5 student at St Vincents Primary School in Ashfield. Justin’s passion for prose saw him take out a top spot in the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, a nationwide competition that attracted over 10,000 entries this year. What was extra special about Justin’s award was that it was in the learning assistance and special education category. Justin’s passion for poetry began when he heard Dorothea Mackellar’s legendary poem My Country. It is fitting that this budding poet has won an award named after his idol.

While I happily presented Justin with a book pack and a cheque for his prize, he gave me a much greater gift: a book that he made himself with poems he had written since he was seven years old and illustrations for each poem.

It is obvious that poetry is an important part of the way that Justin expresses himself. I was honoured to receive such a wonderful present. He is a credit to his parents, Oh Soo and Marissa; his teacher Robin Catchpole; and his school, St Vincent’s at Ashfield. I would like to share with the House some of his poem which won the prize:

Wheels, Wings and Marvellous Things

I wish I had wheels, wings and marvellous things!

I wish I had wheels,

So I can be as fast as a car,

I can go near and I can go far.

I wish I had wheels, wings and marvellous things!

I wish I had wings

so I can fly:

I can take a trip to the blue sky!

I wish I had wheels, wings and marvellous things!

I wish I had a shell,

So I can hide,

when I am scared…

or when I’m sleepy inside…

I wish I had wheels, wings and marvellous things!

I wish I had gills

to breathe in the sea,

to conquer my swimming,

to be a different me.

I wish I had wheels, wings and marvellous things!

I wish I had springs,

so I can jump high

to feel the clouds

and the beautiful sky

I wish I had wheels, wings and marvellous things!

I wish I had muscles so I can be strong:

I can carry people all day long

I wish I had a tail, fins, a magic ring

and all sorts of marvellous things!

I wish I had wheels, wings and marvellous things,

wheels, wings and marvellous things!

This is a wonderful young man. He is in year 5 at St Vincent’s at Ashfield.

Mr Neville interjecting—

Mr ALBANESE: I note the statements from across the chamber, including from the member for Hinkler, acknowledging what a marvellous thing this young man is. He suffers. He is on the autism spectrum. He expresses himself in such a magnificent way through this book of poetry. I assure other honourable members that this book that I will cherish as a prized possession, as a member of parliament, is full not just of wonderful poems but of wonderful illustrations of those poems. He is a wonderful boy and he is a great credit to his school, to his family and to the local community.