Our judges

Where there is a competition, there are judges. These are the people you'll need to impress because they're the ones who pick the winning entries.

Ms Gai Brodtmann MP, Member for Canberra

 Ms Gai Brodtmann MP, Member for Canberra

Gai Brodtmann was elected the Member for Canberra on 21 August 2010 and has extensive experience in the public, private and community sectors.

Gai ran her own small business for ten years and understands the challenges faced by small business owners. Prior to that, she was a federal public servant, primarily with Foreign Affairs and Trade and Attorney-General’s.

Gai has represented Australia in India and worked on a range of international and national issues, from Indigenous youth development and climate change to defence capability, tax and foreign policy.

As a volunteer director on the Gift of Life and Our Wellness boards, Gai helped to lift the profile of organ donation and raised funds for better health services in Canberra. She is a former director and audit committee member of the Cultural Facilities Corporation and ACTTAB and a former director of the National Press Club.

Gai is a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Small Business and Parliamentary Friends of Organ and Tissue Donation groups. She is Patron of the Tuggeranong Festival and Tuggeranong Bulldogs Junior Football Club.

Gai graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University, a Bachelor of Public Relations from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and a Graduate Certificate in Business from Monash University.

She has tutored at the University of Canberra and studied North Asian perceptions of Australia’s strengths as a manufacturing nation as the 1989 Royce Fellow.

Gai’s public policy interests include education, small business, defence, foreign affairs, superannuation, financial literacy and effective administration.

A long time Canberra resident, Gai enjoys cooking, gardening, architecture, visual arts, dance, walking, reading and spending time with her husband Chris Uhlmann.

Here's an extract of her first speech, which you can read in full in Parlinfo:

“Words can only stretch so far and they fail when I try to express the honour and the terror of being here today. I have dreamed of being here. I admire anyone who takes up the challenge of politics and who honestly tries to improve the lives of his or her people, no matter what political lights they follow. Although it is not fashionable to say it, I believe politics is, or should be, an honourable profession. In the end, it is about improving people’s lives. And at its best politics is about building a better community and a better nation.”

Alby Shultz MP – Member for Hume (New South Wales)

 Mr Alby Schultz MP, Member for Hume Alby Schultz, a member of the Liberal Party of Australia, has a long and proud history of serving in public office.

During a distinguished career spanning 34 years in the meat processing industry Alby was elected and spent eight years as a councillor in the Cootamundra Shire.

In March 1988 Alby was elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly as the State Member for Burrinjuck, winning in a three-cornered contest with the Labor and National parties a seat that had been a Labor stronghold for 47 years.

Following a difficult redistribution he relinquished his State seat in September 1998 to contest the Federal seat of Hume, which had been left vacant after the resignation of the sitting member.

Alby won the seat convincingly in another three-cornered contest between the Labor and National parties and later retained the seat with an increased majority at the 2001 and 2004 Federal elections. He was again reelected at the 2007 and 2010 elections.

Alby's political career has seen him make a significant contribution to many Parliamentary committees and take an active role in policy making. At the State level he sat on committees including law and justice, agricultural and rural affairs, justice and emergency services, police, public works, roads and transport.

At a Federal level he has been involved in committees including family and community affairs and primary industries, national crime and migration.

He is currently Deputy Chair of the Primary Industries and Resources committee and a former Member of the House of Representatives Speakers Panel.

Alby is married and has two adult children.

He is a proud grandfather and when not fulfilling his parliamentary duties he enjoys fishing, tinkering in the shed and spending valuable time with his family. He also enjoys painting in water colours, and pastels, riding his motorbike and is an avid gardener.

Here's an extract of his first speech, presented in November 1998, which you can read in full in Parlinfo:

“I stand in awe of this huge chamber as the newly elected member for the federal seat of Hume and reflect back on the decade I served as an elected member of the Legislative Assembly of the New South Wales parliament. I am conscious of my obligation to continue the people-first community based style of politics which voters within the Hume electorate overwhelmingly endorsed on Saturday, 3 October 1998.”

Mark Riley – Political Editor, Seven Network

 Mark Riley  Mark Riley has been a journalist for 34 years. His career has taken him from Newcastle to New York and back to the political nerve centre of Canberra.

He began as a cadet journalist for the Newcastle Herald newspaper and moved to The Sydney Morning Herald in 1990, joining the SMH's federal political bureau in 1992.

Mark was appointed New York Correspondent for the SMH and it's Melbourne sister paper, The Age, in 1998.

He won a Walkley Award for his reporting from the United Nations of the diplomatic machinations behind East Timor's passage to independence.

Mark was in a New York playground with his baby son on the morning of the September 11 attacks, leading the Fairfax newspapers' coverage from New York of those terrible events and their lasting repercussions.

He returned to Canberra as the SMH's Chief Political Correspondent in late 2002 and joined the Seven Network as Political Editor in early 2004.

Mark has covered five Prime Ministers and 12 Opposition Leaders.

He has listened to countless first speeches, some good, some average, a few outstanding.

"A good first speech is an honest and accessible self-portrait put to words," Mark says.

"It is the first, best and most important opportunity for a new politician to announce themselves to the nation, to colour in their character, their drives, their hopes, their beliefs, to tell the country who and what inspires them and why, and to lay out the panorama of their ambition for Australia and the destination they would like to reach.

"It is also a historical record in the making. The words of the first speech live on, long after their sound has faded from the chamber, as the foundation statement of a parliamentary career.

"The only speeches more important are the ones they make when they become Prime Minister or, Heaven forbid, send the country to war."

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