Education students commit to nation-wide cause

Tim Perkins, Adam Goodes, Scott Walker, Annie McKenzie and Hanne Pedersen
at the Recognise meeting

21 May 2014

Three Education students from The University of Notre Dame Sydney met with well known social activists, Australian of the Year Adam Goodes and Senior Australian of the Year Fred Chaney, on Tuesday 13 May at the Wayside Chapel in Sydney, as part of a movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution.

At the meeting, held as part of the Recognise campaign, students Annie McKenzie, Scott Walker and Hanne Pedersen, along with Senior Lecturer Mr Tim Perkins, learnt how they can make a difference to this nation-wide cause.

"The students had the wonderful opportunity of hearing Australian of the Year Adam Goodes expressing his thoughts about the need for a referendum in order to address some of the underlying racism that is still present in the Constitution," Mr Perkins said.

"They also had the opportunity to hear from Senior Australian of the Year, Fred Chaney who was a highly respected parliamentarian and an advocate for the rights for Aboriginal people for the past 55 years. To hear his passion about the need for advocacy by informed people was inspiring. Listening to the speakers and meeting Adam Goodes in person has had a powerful effect on my students' desire to become more informed and active on issues of social justice."

Annie McKenize, is currently studying a Bachelor of Primary Education (Religious Education), and was surprised at how little is known about the issue.

"Before the meeting I had very little understanding about the Constitution and the Recognise campaign. It is positive to hear that the government is behind this movement but we need to make sure that the Australian public is behind it 100 per cent too," Annie said.

"As teachers, it is essential to be aware of the world around us; we are responsible for educating ourselves and the students in our class about important issues in our society. If we do not act for what we believe in we cannot expect our students to do so as we are role models to future generations."

Annie, Scott and Hanne were invited to attend the meeting by Mr Perkins as they have continuously shown interest in and commitment to social justice issues. Annie and Hanne travelled to Kenya in 2013 as part of the Notre Dame Service Learning Project, with Scott scheduled to travel with the 2014 group.

Earlier this month, a mural comprising of 46 faces was unveiled at the Notre Dame Fremantle Campus, also in support of the Recognise campaign. More information about the mural can be found here.

Applications for the School of Education Sydney and semester two at Notre Dame are now open. Visit

Hannah Guilfoyle: Tel (02) 8204 4141;