Congratulations to Michael Gunner and Lauren Moss

People Sharing Ideas Inc and TEDxDarwin congratulate Mr Michael Gunner and Ms Lauren Moss on their election to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly.  Both Michael and Lauren have been a part of TEDxDarwin, Michael as one of the original organising committee and Lauren as a TEDxDarwin speaker.

Below are some extracts from Mr Gunner’s statements in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in 2011.


Extract from Eleventh Assembly, First Session, 11 August 2011, Parliamentary Record No. 21:

Mr Gunner (Fannie Bay): … On the weekend, the inaugural TEDxDarwin was hosted at the museum. TED is based on the principle of ideas worth spreading, and TEDx events are local and independently driven. They provide an opportunity for passionate and inspired people to get together and share their ideas. Many people love TED. If you do not know about TED check out There are over 900 videos on the site. I always recommend people start with Hans Rosling, one the best speeches; however, there are many things that are creative and inspirational – of people who get out there and do things.

There are many people in Darwin who love the passion, the creative thinking, and the new solutions to old problems you can find on They also believe the Territory is a place with plenty of people with great ideas worth spreading, so a few of them have got together and made TEDxDarwin a reality. Jason and [Caryn] Schoolmeester, Ben Gill, Noel Hanssens and Nicholas McGrath did not talk about it, they did it. As a result, on the weekend we saw many passionate people get together and learn, from Chris Garner, about the approach of Marrara Christian School to Indigenous education. The school has seen Year 12 graduation rates go from 2% to 98%. Chris is one of those great Territory stories, born in Scotland and arrived here via England, South Africa and New Zealand. He met his wife here, they are happily married and living in Karama and are not going anywhere.

There was more at TEDxDarwin – Matt Cornell and his journey; Adam Voigt and what he has done with the community to get Rosebery Primary off the ground; how Bindy Isis has made lifting the foot a personal philosophy, Kia Shan finding a way to engage youth, and Caroline in supporting parents and much more.

TEDxDarwin was diverse, inspirational, positive and local. Like everyone else there, I left reaffirmed about the direction of the Territory and the people we have working towards our future.

There are countless examples of the boundless energy of Territorians and their ability to get out and do things. That is why it is a great place to live, and will be an even better place in the future. We have a strong sense of community, and that is not lost as we grow.

Extract from Eleventh Assembly, First Session, 18 August 2011, Parliamentary Record No. 21:

Mr Gunner (Fannie Bay): … I spoke about this in the House, last week; several weeks ago I attended the TEDxDarwin conference –, if members are not aware of it, is a powerful website. It is a place where people can share ideas, spread ideas worth sharing. The conference did not have an education theme, but several people who spoke at the conference were from an education background and they spoke about things they were doing in education and it was very interesting.

One was Adam Voigt, who has been in the paper recently because of Rosebery Primary School and its approach to homework. He spoke about how, as a school, they spoke to the parent community, looked at the data – he talked a lot about data – he believes in making decisions based on data and they looked at what they thought homework delivered. He summed it up, as you can often do, that he made his decision on research and data. He summed it up by saying he felt, generically, homework delivered three things; stress to children, late nights for parents, and no discernable outcomes necessarily education-wise. He said you do not necessarily get a benefit out of making a papier-mâché volcano at 11 pm. There is more to homework than that. As kids, everyone hated homework. There were definitely times I did homework that I thought was helpful. There are maths problems you need to spend time on outside the classroom. There definitely can be a place for it in education.

It is always interesting to see people take a fresh approach to situations because often it is about the outcome you achieve. You always have to remember you do not go through the process for the sake of the process. He took a fresh approach to something at Rosebery and he promised the parent group he would deliver students with the same outcomes as if they were getting the homework. He made that commitment, and that is what they are working towards. It is an interesting, exciting approach to education.

Another person who spoke at the conference was Chris Garner from Marrara Christian College. He spoke about how they deal with their Indigenous students in Year 11 and 12. They took a step back because their graduation rate was at 2%. They said: ‘That is not good enough. We are obviously doing something wrong; we need to do something different. What can we do?’ They decided to take a path of a three-week induction in Year 11, where they sat down and talked with their students about where they came from, their expectations, their families’ expectations, what type of environment they would be returning to, and what they wanted to achieve. They introduced themselves and sat down for three weeks and, at the end of that, they tailored a program for those students for the next two years. The program delivered an outcome that obviously met the core criteria they needed to meet for Years 11 and 12 and, more importantly in many ways, delivered an outcome that was going to get that student something after high school. They turned their graduation rate around from 2% to 98%, which is an extraordinary outcome.

I have spoken to the minister’s office about that to find out if we are talking with them. There are lessons there for us. Sometimes, in the public system you have to do things differently to what a single school might do. We are talking to them about what they are doing and how to apply it. That is an interesting approach, and we should look at anything that achieves good outcomes. That is another way of looking with fresh eyes at an old problem.