A Kaniva student has represented regional Victoria and discussed political issues in rural areas on a national television program.
Kaniva College year 11 student Jock Maddern was one of four Australian students chosen to join the panel on ABC television show Q&A.
Jock was the only student from a regional area represented and he joined Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg and shadow health minister Catherine King on the show’s panel.
Other students were from Parade College, Williamstown High School and The MacRobertson Girls' High School.
The students and ministers were asked questions from other high school students on topics including marriage equality, housing affordability, mental health and racism. Jock said a teacher at school suggested he apply to be on the program.
More than 200 students applied for the show. “I thought t would be pretty cool to go on live TV,” Jock said. “I also wanted to bring my views from the country to the city and give my opinion on different issues.”
During the program, Jock encouraged other young people to consider moving to regional and rural areas where houses were more affordable.
“There’s still houses out there if you want to buy them – you might just have to sacrifice location,” he said.
“Life wasn’t meant to be easy. If it was meant to be easy, everybody would be good at it.”
Jock also spoke in favour of marriage equality. “It shouldn’t matter who you love,” he said.
“What goes on behind closed doors in someone else’s house is no one else’s business, so for someone to say that’s not acceptable is criminally unfair.”
Another topic of the night was mental health.
Jock said rates of suicide were often higher in regional areas because of lack of services and isolation.
“People feel like no one is around and there is no one to talk to,” he said.
Jock said he enjoyed the experience, although it was daunting at first.
“I was a little bit nervous about it, but once I got started, it was fine,” he said.
“I like to think I had a different perspective that I shared so I hope the city students enjoyed it.” He said he was comfortable with the questions that were asked.