The Governor-General, Major General Michael Jeffery, presented the inaugural awards in the undergraduate programme of the Governor Generals Prize at Government House, Canberra on 28 January, 2005. The Gold Medallist, Ben Davies,
The Gold Medallist, Ben Davies, a student at Monash University, receives a $ 20,000 scholarship. The joint silver medallists, Monique Hardy of NSW and Tamara Vu of Queensland receive prizes of $5000. Other finalists included Fiona Spencer of Tasmania and Wendy Nowland and Lit Hau Tan of New South Wales. Mr Tan had become a citizen at a ceremony on Australia Day.
Three eminent Australians formed the judging panel –His Honour, Mr Justice Dyson Heydon of the High Court, Sir Guy Green, the former Governor of Tasmania, and Adminsitrator of The Commonwealth, and Professor George Winterton, Professor of Constitutional Law. The Governor-General’s Prize Programme was established to promote a greater understanding of the history and relevance of Australia’s constitutional system.
It is funded through a charitable, non partisan trust, details of which can be seen at www.cefa.org.au, including information on the tax deductibility of gifts. ( I am a trustee of CEF-A) The Director of the Prize Programme, Mr Damien Freeman announced that the primary and secondary programmes were now being launched .
The Governor-General expressed concern about a worrying trend of disengagement from the democratic process which had been revealed in a recent survey. He said that young Australians need to be encouraged to learn more about our system of Government. Those who worked so hard and gave so much for the programme, as administrators, volunteers and benefactors have reason to be proud concerning the achievements made so far, and about the exciting future for the programme. It should be able to achieve much in the advancement of the understanding of our heritage- our constitutional system – not only among the young, the new arrivals but among all Australians. It is after all the context in which our nation has in its short history been able to achieve so much, not only in building the nation, but in making her many contributions to the peace, freedom and well-being of the world.
Until next time,