“If you’re offered a seat on the rocket ship, don’t ask which one” was the advice from Australian politician and Liberal Senator for Victoria, the Honourable Jane Hume, who senior secondary students had the privilege of hearing from last Wednesday. Senator Hume, who is also Shadow Minister for Finance, Shadow Special Minister of State and Shadow Special Minister for the Public Service, visited Rockhampton last week as one of 10 honourable guests at the first Capricornia Women’s Breakfast. Hosted by Michelle Landry, MP and Girls Grammar Alumni, the Capricornia Women’s Breakfast invited Central Queensland guests to join 10 women holding varied portfolios in leading the Liberal and National Parties in federal politics. All proceeds of last Wednesday’s breakfast were donated to Girls Time Out, a not-for-profit organisation supporting young women in the Rockhampton community.
Thanks to 2015 Girls Grammar graduate Elysse Halliday, who aspired to pursue a career in political journalism and has done exactly that. As Media Advisor for Senator Hume’s Office, Elysse reached out to coordinate a visit from the Senator between engagements while in town. Not only were the students in Years 10-12 intrigued by the lived experience and advice from Senator Hume, they were just as interested to hear the post-schooling journey Elysse has taken to reach where she is today.
During her visit Senator Hume spoke to students and staff about:
her memories of high school, where she too attended an all-girls school in the regional suburb of Armadale,
her experiences at university where she developed her passion for politics,
navigating the male dominated party following graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce and
her experience as a university graduate living in a share house with friends, where rejection letters from the many job applications submitted by her and her housemates served as wallpaper and reminders of the reality during this period of life and learning.
Senator Hume expressed the importance of continuing to cultivate hobbies and reminded the girls, especially our Year 12 students who are about to commence their external examinations, that what they end up pursuing post-school will not necessarily be the career they have in 10 years’ time. It was Senator Hume’s hobby and passion for politics that led her to where she is and the career she has today.
Her diverse and impressive resume from a career in the financial services industry, working for the National Australia Bank, Rothschild Australia, Deutsche Bank, and Australian Super, along with serving as a board director at two iconic Melbourne institutions; Federation Square and the Royal Children’s Hospital equipped her with a great deal of experience and respect leading to her election in 2016 as Liberal Senator for Victoria and appointment to Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Economics.
It was clear from her answers to questions and topics of discussion that Senator Hume is an extremely strong advocate for women in politics and empowering women of all ages. This is also reflected personally and historically for her last year, when she became the first Minister for Women's Economic Security.
The timing of Senator Hume’s visit during the last week of classes for Year 12 was informative and enlightening. To hear from a strong female political leader who was once in the same shoes as our seniors, preparing to enter a world filled with opportunities, reinforced Girls Grammar’s Motto Non Scholae, sed vitae. That “not only for school but for life we are learning.”