Voices on the Coast, Immanuel Lutheran College - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Voices on the Coast, Immanuel Lutheran College

16 Jul 2015

16 July 2015 

Really pleased to be part of tonight’s celebration and sharing the occasion with Immanuel College, the Voices on the Coast presenters and the Sunshine Coast Community. The festival has hosted 5,000 students and sold 15,500 tickets this year so it continues its tradition of success – and is a major event in the school calendar. USC is proud to be a partner in this wonderful showcase for our young people.

My predecessor, Paul Thomas, was quite determined that USC wasn’t going to be just a degree factory. It had to be a driver of cultural and economic enlightenment for our region. Colin’s predecessors here at Immanuel College shared this vision and we’re now sharing a relationship that’s 20years old.

I’ve been at USC 10 years and every year as thousands of school kids from the Coast and much further afield flood onto our campus, I continue to be amazed at their enthusiasm and passion for ‘their literature’.

As an academic, school teacher and parent I occasionally despair at the apparent fetish of government to channel education into narrow workforce outcomes. It doesn’t work. From a university perspective, we know that a very high proportion of nursing, education and engineering graduates will flip careers within 5 to 10 years, our science graduates will work in the public service and arts graduates in business.

Increasingly, tomorrow’s workforce requires what our university classifies as ‘graduate attributes’. Generic, transportable skills.

In this brave new world, Voices on the Coast extends far beyond celebrating literature, and specifically children’s literature. It gives all our students, regardless of where they’ll end up working with a connectivity to literature that will benefit them whatever their eventual profession or occupation.

Have a think about it. Voices on the Coast gives our children a leg-up to their future careers as well as cementing an appreciation of reading and literature that will enhance that work/life balance that we increasingly worry about. And it ties in to one of the key graduate attributes that employers tell us about – communication skills.

And so, onto the Member for Fairfax who will launch tonight’s event. Clive is a master of communications. My first introduction to the Member for Fairfax was before his election to parliament. I can’t remember the event per se but it was a community audience and Clive talked very passionately about the plight of refugees and the Australian Government’s negative attitude to same. I remember looking at the audience of largely, mature aged Coasties, and thinking, “This won’t go down well.” But Clive had them eating out of his hand. His sincerity and eloquence carried the day.

He could well be a star performer at next year’s Voices and our younger generation could give him some new insights into the next cohort of voters.

It is my pleasure to introduce to you Mr Clive Palmer, Member for Fairfax.