John Gardner MP
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28 September 2011 - United Nations Global Peace School Program

Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (15:15): It always gives me great pleasure to talk about the activities that are happening in my local schools in the Morialta area. I often say that my favourite two parts of the job are the opportunity that we regularly get to talk to young schoolchildren, who have their whole futures in front of them, as well as, of course, our new immigrants and arrivals at citizenship ceremonies, who have their whole futures in Australia in front of them. It is something that makes this job worthwhile for me and I am sure for many other members.

There has been a lot going on in Morialta schools recently, and with five minutes I do not have a great amount of time to cover all of it, but I will see how I go. On 21 September, I was very privileged to take part in an accreditation ceremony at the Norton Summit Primary School, which 18 months ago made an undertaking that they wanted to take part in the UN's Global Peace Schools initiative.

In 2002, the special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu, launched a special program for schools to promote global peace and help younger people understand the situation of their peers in conflict zones. At the end of the day, the future is going to be built by the people who live in it, and at school they have the opportunity to learn and form their views on the world that are going to drive the passions they end up creating when they are running the show, so I think these sorts of initiatives are useful.

The initiative, run by Save the Children in South Australia, encourages the whole school community to get involved at some level. It can be built into parts of the curriculum and can be built into extracurricular activities as well. Norton Summit Primary School is a very special school. I enjoy giving school tours all the time. I was happy to give year 11 students from Charles Campbell today a tour of the house before question time. Their teacher, Chris Formby, is an excellent teacher and regularly brings groups of his students in here.

Part of the tour we like is to look at the busts outside this chamber, where there are statues of Charles Cameron Kingston, Don Dunstan and, of course, Thomas Playford. When I take Norton Summit Primary School students around and we get to that statue, of course, many of them look up and say, 'Oh, look, there's great-grandpa,' and you see the number of people with their little name tags on showing the surname Playford, which reappears over and over again. It is a special part of the community which has a great affection and affiliation with this house. I am sure that a number of Playfords in the group performed on 21 September. In fact, every child at the school performed to some extent to display their appreciation and enjoyment of this initiative that their school is undertaking as part of the Global Peace Schools Program.

The receptions and year 1s sang songs about peace, and that was lovely. The years 2 and 3 put on a quite touching display, talking about their experiences of learning about their contemporaries who live in very different circumstances just down the road at Inverbrackie. It was reassuring to see the level of understanding that these very young children were demonstrating and the compassion they were showing for other children the same age, thinking about where they had come from. The years 4 to 7 performed their Wakakirri dance routine, A Shadow of Hope, they had performed in statewide competition and done very well.

The former principal of the school, Brenton Conradi, who has now gone further out into the Hills, came back to speak, and I was glad to see him being involved. Of course, I commend the current principal, Cheryl Bedford, the governing council and all the students involved who helped that to happen. In particular, a young lad in year 7 called Simon—maybe Simon Playford, the chances are pretty good; I am not sure what his surname is, but let us say it is Playford—put on a very good performance at very late notice, giving an explanation of the role that the children had played in forming the program.

Our schools are very important to our local communities. Not only is the role that the schools play in providing facilities for our local communities very important, but also the social infrastructure that our state is going to be built on cannot be underestimated. I think programs like this are useful.

I note that there are now 11 schools that are accredited in South Australia as part of the Save the Children global peace schools, starting with Pennington Junior Primary in 2005, including Thebarton Senior College, Northfield Primary, Parafield Gardens R-7, Hackham West R-7, West Lakes Shore R-7, Seaton High, Virginia Primary, Masada College, Woodville High, and now Norton Summit Primary School, and I welcome Norton Summit School to that list.