Speech by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Welcome home to the Young Endeavour

Location: Williamstown, Victoria

*** Check Against Delivery ***

I want to acknowledge the Kulin people, the traditional custodians of the land and waters where we meet today.

I should also mention the UK Government which gave this magnificent training ship to the people of Australia as a Bicentennial gift.

The Royal Australian Navy is now caretaker and crew of the Young Endeavour.

For all of you – the 27 young men and women who have just completed your 10-day voyage from George Town in Tasmania – it must have been an amazing experience.

Not to mention demanding.

I’m not sure I’d be up to climbing the foremast as you’ve done.

Definitely not for the faint-hearted or sufferers of vertigo.

But the voyage you’ve made has been more than learning to set the sails, navigate, keep watch and take the helm.

Along the way you’ve learnt about your own character, about teamwork, about leadership.

Just putting your hand up for a voyage like this says a lot about who you are.

People with a keen sense of adventure, a willingness to push yourself to the limit, the determination to have a go at something completely different.

You’ve also probably discovered hidden talents you never knew you had.

Sarah, for example, says in her log: “The other day, we climbed the mast to watch the sunrise, after 4am watch. Go Blue Watch! There is nothing I won’t have a go at.”

I hope, Sarah, you never stop having a go.

Some things, I’m sure, have pushed you way out of your comfort zones.

I suspect many of you found Day Four heading towards Deal Island pretty confronting.

Emma did.

She wrote, “Coming in to the island we had the starboard side under water almost that was way scary and cool. I attempted to climb to the top of the mast again last night and got a little bit scared so only made it up a little way.”

And then there are the three young women who have just graduated from the Indigenous Leadership Program run by my department.

Arlene McInherny, Dianna Wright and Rebecca Richards all won scholarships to take this trip on the Young Endeavour.

As a trio who’ve never sailed before, I’m certain it was something they won’t forget.

Arlene – the experiences you’ve had in the past 10 days will give a new perspective to your work in the Indigenous Unit at Macquarie University.

Dianna – you too are on a trajectory as a leader of your people. I’m sure the things you’ve learnt on the Young Endeavour will stand you in good stead in your mission to make the world a better place for children.

Rebecca – juggling the work you do with young people, your internship at the National Museum of Australia, studying at Adelaide University and tackling this voyage shows a great appetite for challenge.

All 27 of you now join the 10,000 other young Australians who’ve sailed Australian and international waters as part of the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme.

Life-changing voyages; memories and friendships to last a lifetime.

You grabbed the opportunity. Took up the challenge. Weathered the open seas and sailed triumphantly back to shore.

Welcome home.