Myall River VIEW hears from Margie Abbott on education and the future of kids

Mrs Margie Abbott spoke about the future her grandchildren may be facing.

MYALL River VIEW Club welcomed special guest speaker Margie Abbott to their May meeting at Hawks Nest Golf Club last Friday.

Mrs Abbott is a successful businesswoman, educator, and the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

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Also welcoming six visitors and three newly minted members, the VIEW Club heard Mrs Abbott speak about the importance of education, paralleling the work done by VIEW’s ‘Learning for Life’ program, which now sponsors nine students.

“I originally discovered VIEW when I met the CEO of The Smith Family years ago, and was impressed with the Learning for Life campaign,” Mrs Abbott said.

With a career that spanned early education, merchant banking and the corrections system, Mrs Abbott was especially aware of the challenges faced by children, and, in light of recent additions to her own extended family, spoke further to the future of children today.

“Our childhoods could be described as ‘free-range’ – we roamed the neighbourhood, caught the bus to school, played outside all the time, but now, everyone carries smartphones.

“There has been a dramatic drop in children’s face-to-face relationships today, and the impact of screens on kids these days is something we all need to think about.

“Even my own three-year-old grandson can use an iPad, but he is much too young to have a smartphone.”

When asked about her experiences as the wife of a Prime Minister, Mrs Abbott was refreshingly realistic and frank about her choices, invoking some clearly personal motivators.

“I never wanted to be in politics, I just ended up married to a man who became PM, but as the PM’s wife, I chose to highlight children, supporting families.

“One way was by continuing to work in early education, and I wanted to emphasise the value of our teachers.

“My children are my drivers; our daughters needed somebody there for them.

“I also made that choice and that is my legacy, as a support person for my family.

“It is important for every individual to feel valued; they need to know that you are supporting them.”

Mrs Abbott was presented by the VIEW Club with a certificate and a locally-made Boomerang Bag, before everyone enjoyed a delicious roast lunch from PKs Restaurant.

VIEW is looking ahead to a Zone Conference in Raymond Terrace on 25 June, followed by a National Convention in Brisbane in September.

Mrs Abbott’s husband, Tony, will soon be speaking at the Rural Fire Service Charity Golf Day at Hawks Nest Golf Club on Friday 24 May.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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