Whitlam Institute

What Matters? 2018

Each year the Whitlam Institute asks Australian young people in grades 5-12 ‘What Matters?’ with their What Matters? Writing Competition. Est. by former PM Gough Whitlam, What Matters?  is part of the WI’s civics education program, inspiring young people to think big & make change. In 2017, Aus journalist/TV presenter of The Project Lisa Wilkinson became competition patron.

For the children of Australia... the answer is to involve the creative energies of our children and our youth in a creative, concerned community.
— Gough Whitlam, 1972

Enter What Matters? 2018

The What Matters? Writing Competition is now open!

Students are to submit an original written work between 400-600 words in prose or poetry, of either fiction or non-fiction. See further Competition Guidelines here.

Competition closes Friday 11 May 2018.

Ever wonder just what happens at the What Matters? Competition award ceremony day? Enjoy this sneak peek into the competition and what it means to us, our participants and for Australian democratic society. More information on What Matters?: whitlam.org/whatmatters

Prizes are awarded in 4 categories: Years 5/6, 7/8, 9/10 and 11/12, courtesy of our generous supporters.

All entrants will receive a certificate of participation. Prize Information here.

Help us spread the word about What Matters?. Download and display our competition poster at your school, library or youth group.


What Matters? is an annual writing competition run by the Whitlam Institute.

Inspired by Gough Whitlam's commitment to involving young people in the shaping of Australia's future, the competition is open to NSW, the ACT and Tasmania school students in years 5 to 12. Responding to the simple question 'what matters?', entrants are free to express their views on any matter they care about.

The competition receives thousands of entries covering a wide range of subjects, putting paid to the idea that young Australians are disengaged and disaffected. Year after year we are reminded how passionate, observant and articulate young people are, and how deeply driven they are by a sense of social justice as they offer us a window into not just what concerns them, but what inspires them. 


2017 Winners announced!

For the first time in the history of the competition, our judges were unable to choose a single winner from the more than 4,000 entries received in 2017. 

Congratulations to our joint 2017 Winners: Anhaar Kareem of Greenacre Public School with her entry My Dreams Matter and Matti Schwarz of Hobart College with his entry Simple Things


Explore the competition in previous years: