On Wednesday 5 March 2014 the joint winners of AIEFs If I were Prime Minister competition, AIEF scholars Jerome and Riarna, travelled to Canberra to meet the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and senior politicians from both sides of the house.
Riarna, who enjoyed her first ever flight on the day thanks to Qantas, is currently in Year 8 at Loreto Normanhurst on an AIEF scholarship. Jerome completed Year 12 at Marist College Ashgrove in 2013 on an AIEF scholarship and commenced a Law degree in February 2014.
In addition to meetings with Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten the students met Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Leader of the Opposition; Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs; Shayne Neumann, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs; Ken Wyatt AM, Member for Hasluck; and Nova Peris OAM, Senator for the Northern Territory, who generously invited the students to lunch in the Members Guests Dining Hall before Question Time, which Riarna and Jerome attended as special guests of the Prime Minister.
During the meetings the students discussed the importance of education, while the politicians shared some of their experiences as well as their advice for aspiring young Indigenous leaders.
The students also had a chance to see AIEF’s ‘Indigenous PM’ portrait, which will be on display in the public corridor adjacent to the Members’ Hall on the Senate side of Parliament House throughout March 2014
It was an inspiring day for all involved and an opportunity that Jerome and Riarna will be sure to remember for a long time to come.