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.

Mr Ewen Jones MP, Member for Herbert, Queensland

 Ewen Jones MP

Ewen Jones was elected to Federal Parliament on August 21, 2010.

Born in Quilpie and brought up in Texas (Queensland), Ewen was the middle son of an Elders GM stock and station agent.

After finishing high school, Ewen spent 12 years working for the Bank of NSW and Westpac before becoming an auctioneer with Brisbane's oldest auction house, Isles Love Auction Centre. He visited Townsville in 1994, fell in love with the people and the lifestyle and has called the city home ever since. He was General Manager at Pickles Auctions before later moving into real estate auctioneering.

Ewen has always had strong community connections. He is a passionate supporter of many local charities and has played a significant role in fundraising for the Queensland Cancer Council, Cootharinga Society and Ronald McDonald House.

Married to wife Linda, a primary school teacher, and with three children, Ewen believes families are the building blocks of our community. He is paying off a mortgage and understands the costs of living pressures Townsville families face.

Ewen is also the Chair of the House of Representatives Education and Employment Committee. 

 Here's an extract of her first speech, which you can read and view from the Member's Fisrt Speech page:

Dad had bundled everyone into the car and took off into the Parramatta Road traffic. ‘Dad,’ called my brother. ‘Hang on, mate, I’m driving here,’ said my father. ‘Dad,’ was the call from the back seat, repeated as my father’s tone darkened at my brothers’ constant refrain. ‘Dad, Ewen’s not here.’ I had been left behind at the service station. I was only there for a short time; my family returned before the owners had left the site. This story is now a play in five parts played by my family for all who visit us. But this event has affected me in ways I am only now coming to understand. It has been a driving force of my life and has helped me to find what I believe is important and helped me formulate the way I have lived my life. No-one will be left behind while I have the ability to help. I can only imagine what it is like for someone who has fallen completely through the cracks. I have the advantage here over others in that at all times during my life I have known that, above all else, my family loves me, no matter what.”

Hon Alannah MacTiernan MP, Member for Perth, Western Australia

Allanah MacTiernan MP

Alannah came to Perth from Melbourne at age 18 where she has remained her whole working life. After a stint at everything from checkout chick to barmaid, she enrolled at University of Western Australia and graduated in Arts and, later, Law.

Alannah’s professional life in Perth has included working for the Commonwealth Government in Aboriginal Employment and Training, establishing and operating a local newspaper which eventually became the Guardian Express, working as a commercial law partner, and serving for five years on the Perth City Council.

She spent 17 years in WA Parliament and served as WA Minister for Planning and Infrastructure for eight years. Immediately before entering Federal Parliament, she was the Mayor for the City of Vincent.

Alannah is a big believer in the importance action on climate change, investment in infrastructure, education and science. As a Minister for the West Australian Government she oversaw major Labor initiatives for WA including roads, ports and the development of the Mandurah Railway line.

She is passionate about her local community, where her family have lived for over thirty years, and enjoys spending time participating in the many local community events that make sunny Perth a great place to live.

Here's an extract of her first speech, which you can read and view from the Member's First Speech page:

“Here are a few of the things that I think should be done. I have come to understand why so many Australians are leaving school after 10 to 12 years unable to confidently read and write. The Productivity Commission report on literacy and labour market skills cited evidence that more than 40 per cent of working age Australians did not have the literacy and numeracy to effectively participate in society. International studies reflect that the last major study ranked Australian last in literacy in the seven English-speaking nations assessed.”

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."

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print
Back to top