Winning Entries to the 2007 Regional Essay Competition
2007 Division 1 (16 - 18 years) Winner
Jessica Eagles (Dalby Christian School Year 12)
"Comparison of Referee to Governor General"
The tension is electric with lights flashing and the crowds roaring. Australians are holding their breath to see the outcome. The commentator excites the crowd with, “And in the red corner we see Gough Whitlam in his oversized Canterbury shorts, furiously shadow boxing, muttering under his breath. And in the green corner we have Malcolm Fraser, tight-lipped with shoulders square having the support of the Senate behind him. He's loosening up and jogging on the spot.” Then centre stage steps John Kerr. The crowd goes wild at his announcement that the government has been dismissed. The Governor-General has spoken. The fight is over. He “determined that he had both the right and the duty to dismiss the government and commission a new government that would recommend dissolution of the Parliament.” (www.answers.com/topic/governor-general-of-australia)
That was the year 1975. Referees have come and gone, but that referee's decision has been debated more than any 'video ref's' decision, before or since.
A referee spoke. His word was final. No one could change his mind. Only a country's history in hindsight will prove whether he made the right decision. One only has to talk to those who lived through this 'match' to realise that they were thankful.
Whether they are appreciated or not, the referees are always going to be there to make sure the game is played fairly and by the rules. If one breaks the rules enough, one will be sent off the field to be out of play for a certain length of time. However, the referee is not there to be a policeman. The “essential role of the referee is an active one. It is constructive, positive and caring.” (www.gaa.ie/page/role_of_the_referee.html)
To compare a sports ref with a Governor-General is as different as chalk and cheese when you look at their knees. The referee wears sport shorts, and the Governor-General's knees are hidden by his business suit.
Keeping to the “rules” is the main aim of both a sport's ref and the Governor-General. The Governor-General won't be able to find a whistle big enough for the whole of Canberra to hear, but the Queen's sceptre is resting on his shoulder.
When a rule is broken in sport, the referee has the power to raise his or her arm and send that particular player off the field for a certain amount of time. Similarly, the Governor-General has the power, from the Queen, to remove anyone from Parliament who isn't 'playing the game'.
Despite these similarities, referees and the Governor-General also play roles which can't be related to the other. Differences between the two include the fact that the Governor-General has reserve powers. These are powers which are not commonly used, but are there for use if needed. Whereas, referees do nothing but ensure the rules are followed. They don't have any “reserve” whistles to blow in the case of severe rule breaking. Many a sports ref must sleep sound at night knowing that the video ref received the blame for an unpopular decision. The Governor-General has always had that confidence that “in practice he or she followed the conventions of the Westminster system and (with occasional and rare exceptions) acted only on the advice of the Prime Minister of Australia or other ministers” (www.answers.com/topic/governor-general-of-australia)
Both the referee and Governor-General are impartial in carrying out their duties. Both have to work with the teams they've been given and distribute fair judgement accordingly.
The sport's ref is blessed that the private life of both teams' members doesn't affect his decisions. The role of the Governor-General “can become controversial, however, if he becomes unpopular with sections of the community. The public role adopted by Sir John Kerr was curtailed somewhat after that constitutional crisis of 1975.” (www.answers.com/topic/governor-general-of-australia)
Even though referees, in sport and for the Constitution, will never please everybody, well we will say, may men never stop volunteering if the call is placed on their life, for referees will always be needed for constructive, positive and caring judgements.
2007 Division 2 (11 - 15 years) Winner
Josh Little (Year 7, Middle Ridge State School, Toowoomba)
"How is Prince William being prepared for his eventual roles as a future King of Australia and of the Commonwealth of Nations and how would you prepare him for these roles?"
William, the tall handsome Prince, is much adored by everyone in the Commonwealth and all over the world. Right now he is being prepared for his future role as King of Australia. Many believe William to be much like his mother, with a maturity beyond his years. He possesses Diana's compassion and gentle touch, tied with the same enormous sense of duty that she had.
I believe that personal trials have shaped and strengthened William's character, providing him with the resilience needed to face up to the challenges of being Head of State. He has gone through the separation of his parents, the remarriage of his father to Camilla Parker Bowles, and most importantly the death of his much loved mother and friend Princess Dianna in 1997. This was an extremely difficult time for him, for in his eyes, there was no one in the world who could compare with his mother. Despite these terribly trying times, he has been able to emerge from the deep end with a positive outlook on life. After the death of his mother, Palace officials commented that he seemed to grow in maturity almost overnight.
Prince William has shown he is not afraid to connect with the public, and has been involved in many civic engagements in order to develop his people skills. His first official public appearance was made on St David's Day in 1991 at Llandaff Cathedral in Wales, when he was eight years old. Since then he has represented the Royal family on numerous occasions. William carried out his first official engagements by representing Elizabeth II, as Queen of New Zealand at WWII commemorations in July 2006.
It has been no secret that William has long held a dislike for the media. As a boy, holidaying with his mother, he would all but lock himself indoors, doing the best he could to avoid the paparazzi. He once broke down in tears when ordered by his father to pose for the photographers. The Prince believes that if the paparazzi had not been dogging his mother, then she may never have been in the accident that took her life. With growing maturity however, he is now more prepared to communicate with the media, even if his views still remain unchanged, which will be essential in his eventual role as King.
The future Monarch of Australia appears to be a natural leader. William has taken over his mother's role as Patron of Centrepoint, a UK charity working with young homeless people. He also took up patronage of Tusk Trust, based in the UK, which is a conservation charity developed to help African animals. The Queen herself chose to acknowledge and foster William's leadership skills by appointing him Commodore-in-Chief for Scotland, and Commodore-in-Chief for Submarines. The Prince is President of the English Football Association, and Vice Royal-Patron of the Welsh Rugby Union. To further develop the skills he will need to lead the people of the Commonwealth, he has since commenced a cadet course at the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst, where he will graduate as an officer in the army.
Leadership skills however are not enough in themselves. I believe that Prince William needs to follow the Queen's example, by demonstrating his dedication to the people of the Commonwealth. The Queen earned much respect, and established herself as Head of State, during her countless visits and unwavering support of the Commonwealth. William, as second-in-line to the throne, should also aspire to more involvement with his future people, and gain wider experience of their diverse cultures. This would allow him to build the same strong connections that the Queen to this day enjoys with her people.
Under the close eye of the public, William has progressed through from boyhood to become a confident young man. I believe, given the proper preparation, he has the potential to be a fine King, leading Australia and the Commonwealth onwards into prosperity and success. Nicholas Davies, in his book, William the Man Who Will be King, says, “William has been born into royalty, trained to understand his role and the part he will play.” However, only time will tell if the Prince will become a true King.
- Davies, N 1998, William the Man Who Will Be King, Pan MacMillan Australia Pty Ltd, Sydney