Did you know that inequality is bad for individuals? Or that in more equal societies, people are happier and live longer?

Earlier this week, nine BSSC students attended the Communities in Control conference and had the opportunity to hear some of Australia’s visionaries presenting their ideas about how Australia can become a more successful and fairer society. The conference highlighted the vital role played by community groups and those working at a grass-roots level.

Five-hundred participants came from all over Australia, but BSSC was the only college represented. Students were singled out for particular mention during the welcome, and Denis Moriarty later commented on how good it was to look down and see the students.

“Go forward and change the world,” he encouraged.

Teacher, Angie Pollock, noted that the positivity and optimism of the speakers was incredibly inspiring.

“Despite the increasing gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, these speakers saw pathways though our problems,” she said.

Year 12 student, James Chittick, observed that, “Hugh Mackay was really clear about the importance of social interaction and lobbying of politicians.”

Conference speakers included Gillian Triggs, Kathy Kelly, Paul Higgins, Jax Jacki Brown, Annabel Crabb, Philip Wollen and Stan Grant.

Year 11 student, Alex Nevill, found Stan Grant, Hugh Mackay and Gillian Triggs to be the speakers who most inspired her.

“It was a big realisation how complex politics can be,” she said. “Gillian spoke about how, despite all her work, and the tireless work of many others, Australia remains the only democracy without a Bill of Rights. It was a shock to hear this.

“But we are leading the world in addressing ageism and able-ism. And it was great to listen to people who have successful careers in areas that I am considering for the future. It’s reignited my interest in being involved with politics without becoming a politician.”