We were delighted that nearly 4500 students from around Australia participated in the competition this year. After some busy weeks of marking, the shortlist is in!
This year’s entries are as thoughtful as they are diverse, covering topics including the environment, equality, racism and media representation. Every entry was read and considered by an experienced marker, and it's our privilege to recognise all of the inspiring young Australians who participated.
What Matters? is a 'catalyst for young thinkers and young writers to develop a perspective, a point of view, on where we're heading as a society'.
Inspired by Gough Whitlam's commitment to involving young people in the shaping of Australia's future, the competition is currently open to school students in years 5 to 12 from NSW, VIC, WA, the ACT and Tasmania. Responding to the simple question 'what matters?', entrants are free to express their views on any matter they care about.
The Whitlam Institute is pleased to welcome back our patron Lisa Wilkinson AM as competition patron in 2019. Read Lisa’s 2018 Patron’s Address here.
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.
To enter What Matters? students submit an original written work between 400-600 words in prose or poetry, of either fiction or non-fiction. See Competition Guidelines here.
Prizes are awarded in 4 categories: Years 5/6, 7/8, 9/10 and 11/12. Warm thanks to our generous supporters for their prizes: the Museum of Australian Democracy, Writing NSW, Reachout.com, Westwords, Varuna - the Writers House and the Writing Workshop. Prize Information here.
Exploring ‘what matters’ in your classroom?
Often, entries to the competition are created in the classroom as an exercise in critical thinking, civics and writing. This year, we created resources to help teachers and students use the What Matters? writing competition in the classroom:
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