IMG_1965One of the great pleasures I have as a Member of Parliament is representing such a multicultural electorate and seeing many recently arrived migrant children doing so well at school.

I said in my inaugural speech in the Parliament of Victoria that like many other Australian families, my origins lie beyond our prosperous shores. Ignace Eduouard Couacaud migrated to this country in search of what so many others have sought in Australia, opportunity and happiness.

Ignace picked up what little he had in Mauritius and set out for the Victorian goldfields hoping to find prosperity, freedom and a better life for future generations than the one he had lived. Each subsequent generation has tried to do that little bit better for their children.

It is our children, our young people who deserve to have the very best opportunities in life.That’s why it’s always such a thrill to attend local schools and present my Community, Spirit and Leadership awards.

Award winners are selected by their teachers and display a range of qualities, including being considerate of others, civic minded and demonstrating initiative. They are also regarded as future leaders of our community.

It was such a delight to meet the proud parents of Jasnoor Daler and Raedan Fernandez, the joint winners of my Community, Spirit and Leadership award at St Kevin’s Primary School recently. Jasnoor is always willing to help others and plays an important role in class, supporting and mentoring younger students. She is also very compassionate and empathetic towards others and recently donated a beautifully big and warm blanket to St. Vincent De Paul for the Sacred Heart Mass.

IMG_2632Raedan has an inquisitive mind and asks insightful questions to understand the world around him and is always willing to share his gifts and talents to assist others, both inside and outside of school.

I know that each of these students have a very bright future ahead. Their parents deserve praise for their commitment to education excellence which I admiringly find widespread in the Indian community.

As the great Mahatma Ghandhi said, real education consists of drawing the best out of yourself.

I have also had the great pleasure of having Shravan Sivakumar, a student from Alkira Secondary College complete his work experience in my office recently.

He was hard working and very clever. I met his parents too and I am pleased to say they are giving him every opportunity to be successful. It is heart-warming to witness such support.

Especially impressive was Shravan’s knowledge of politics. It again showed me how people from India share with Australians our important commitment to democracy Shravan said that completing his work experience with Judith had been a fantastic opportunity and allowed him to gain an even greater understanding of just how our political system works.

“Not only was I able to pick up some new skills and knowledge but I was also able to spend time at Parliament during a sitting week and meet with the Leader of the Opposition Daniel Andrews.”

“It was a fantastic experience working with Judith and her team and I had such a great time that I will be heading back to volunteer.”

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