A conversation with Kate Chaney

The UWA Fogarty Scholars joined Kate Chaney, independent candidate for the seat of Curtin, for an informal conversation on Wednesday. Kate said she was eager to speak with young people about the issues they are interested in. 

Kate opened by explaining her background and what brought her to stand for a seat in Federal Parliament. She noted that a driving factor was her involvement on the board of Next 25, which is working to ensure that Australia maximises and shares its success across current and future generations, and her desire to play a more proactive part in addressing complex issues facing Australian society. 

Kate believes her diverse career background in management consulting, law and strategy, as well as her senior corporate and not-for-profit roles, will enable her to contribute on several complex matters. She also acknowledged that there will matters she won’t know about. In talking about her decision to take the plunge to stand for Parliament, Kate said that she realised, “you only have one wild and precious life, so just go for it.”

Kate shared her four areas of focus with the Scholars, which were often touched on during the conversation with the group. These include:

The Scholars raised a wide range of topics important to them, spanning the implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and how to achieve climate change through the creation of economic opportunities, to the provision of greater funding for sports beyond those with a high profile, the structural re-adjustment of industries, addressing and reducing the incidence of sexual harassment and gender inequality, to food and water security and homelessness.

How to find candidates aligned with Scholars’ individual values was also explored, and it was suggested that sites such as Vote Compass could be helpful in this regard. Kate also mentioned the site, They Vote for You which allows one to see how your electorate’s representative – or any member of Parliament – voted on various matters. Kate explained that only 0.4% of the population is a member of a political party and 50% of members of Parliament have only ever worked in politics.

The role of independents in Parliament was also explored, and Kate was asked what she hoped might result in 15 years. Three options she suggested were:

  1. Independents could cause the major parties to re-think their approach to various policies and their electorate.
  2. There could be a critical mass of independents, allowing them to work in different coalitions on various topics of interest. She noted whilst this could be logistically ‘messier’ than the two-party system, it could allow the larger, more complex issues to be dealt with more effectively (noting most of the matters before Federal Parliament are complex issues by their very nature); or
  3. The emergence of new parties, providing a viable alternative to the current ‘red’ vs ‘blue’ team, two party model.

The closing discussion centred on how young people could become more involved, with Kate providing several pointers. Whilst not suggesting that young people head straight for parliament, she stressed that, at a minimum, everyone should be thoughtful about their vote, because every vote counts.

Many thanks to Kate for addressing the group, and for Georgie Carey, Fogarty Scholar (2014) and now Deputy Mayor of the Mosman Park Town Council for being facilitator.

The Fogarty Foundation is proud to welcome the 2019 UWA Fogarty Scholars to the program. The UWA Fogarty Scholarship Program, a joint investment between the Fogarty Foundation and the University of Western Australia, is one of Australia’s premier programs, offering a generous scholarship for the entirety of an undergraduate degree, including honours and a further contribution towards postgraduate studies. 

This year, 10 new scholarships were awarded to the State’s highest-achieving students. Scholars are selected based on academic excellence and outstanding achievements in leadership, community involvement, the arts or sport. 

This years scholars are Benjamin Caulfield (Perth Modern School), Chelsea Francis (Methodist Ladies College), Elsa Fuentes-Hare (Melville Senior High), Eva Marsh (Presbyterian Ladies College), Caleb McKenna (Warwick Senior High School), Charlotte Owens (Methodist Ladies College), Henry Pemberton (Christ Church Grammar School), Pooja Ramesh (Perth Modern School), Racheline Tantular (Perth Modern School), and Zeke Tinley (Bunbury Senior High School).

The new scholars join a growing cohort of 148 Fogarty Scholars and Alumni, who continue to achieve outstanding results in academics, entrepreneurship’s and social endeavours. Many Fogarty Scholars have gone on to receive further scholarships including 5 Rhodes Scholars, 2 Sir John Monash Scholars, 2 Fullbright Scholars and 1 Westpac Future Leaders scholar. They have also gone on to create successful initiatives such as Bloom Lab, WASTV, Futuristic, Teach Learn Grow and Bibliotech. 

As part of the Leadership Program, Fogarty Scholars have the opportunity to meet with exceptional leaders in the community.  At the latest Leaders Series event scholars met with Craig Challen, SC, OAM – joint winner of the 2019 Australian of the Year.  

You will likely recognise Craig Challen from the news. As an experienced technical diver, Craig played a pivotal role in the 2018 cave rescue operation in Thailand to evacuate 12 children and an adult from the flooded Tham Luang Cave system. 

He was awarded the Star of Courage (SC) and Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) by the Governor-General of Australia for his role in the rescue and was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Direkgunabhorn by the King of Thailand. He is also a veterinary surgeon and all round exceptional West Australian.

Scholar Connor McLaughlin writes about five key insights he learnt from Craig Challen: The Five Things I Learned from Craig Challen.

Ten of the State’s highest-achieving students have accepted UWA Fogarty Scholarships to study at The University of Western Australia.

This year’s scholarship winners are Amber Anderson, of Bramley (Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School); Katherine Dumas, of Mt Pleasant (Perth Modern School); Elodie Hayward, of Nedlands (St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls); Lydia Hill Almeida, of Wembley (Perth Modern School); Leyton Hilmer, of South Perth (Wesley College); Emily Roberts, of  Balcatta (Mercedes College); Michaela Savage, of Trigg (St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School); Caitlin Staer, of West Beach (Esperance Senior High School); Luke Thomas, of Huntingdale (St George’s Anglican Grammar School); and Nicholas Ellison, of Claremont (Trinity College).

Fogarty Foundation Executive Chair Annie Fogarty, UWA Vice-Chancellor Dawn Freshwater and UWA Fogarty Scholars past and present welcomed the 2018 scholarship winners at a breakfast this morning.

The UWA Fogarty Scholarships offer the State’s brightest and most committed students a generous scholarship for the entirety of their undergraduate degree, including honours, and a further contribution towards postgraduate studies.

Recipients are selected based on academic excellence and outstanding achievements in at least three of four categories (leadership, community involvement, the arts and sport).

Professor Freshwater said the UWA Fogarty Scholarships were some of the most significant scholarships offered in Australia.

“The winners are academic high achievers with the desire, motivation and ability to make a positive difference in our community,” she said.

“As well as financial assistance, the scholarship program includes leadership development opportunities and academic mentoring.”

Successful initiatives by past Fogarty Scholars include Bloom Lab, founded by Mark Shelton and Bharath Iyer to encourage, mentor and help budding young entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground; WASTV, founded by Michael Taran and Binu Jayawardena to empower social change through a volunteer-run media network; and Ignite, founded by Sasha Quahe and her sister Ilona in 2011 to provide tutoring and mentoring to students from low socio-economic areas to help them reach their potential.

Dr Fogarty said the UWA Fogarty Scholarship program aimed to build a stronger community by investing in exceptional young people.

“We need leaders who will positively transform our community,” Dr Fogarty said. “By creating these opportunities, they are gaining knowledge and experience and the belief that they have the ability and skills to take the lead and make change happen.”