Plain speaking wins the day

Following her triumph in the July state finals of the Sydney Morning Herald Plain English Speaking Awards, Smiths Hill High School student Isabel Crawford has won the national finals in Brisbane.

She defeated students from all states and territories at the 13 August event. (A Queensland contestant was runner-up).

Isabel gave a prepared speech entitled ‘He who must not be named'. It used the slaying of the chief villain from the Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort, in relation to the killing of Osama Bin Laden by American forces last year.

She questioned whether this tactic was justified and the impact it has had on western claims to moral superiority in the war on terror.

She quoted Geoffrey Robertson's comparison of American crowd reaction to the killing as being reminiscent of the singing in The Wizard of Oz after the wicked witch is flattened.

All contestants were given the same impromptu topic, ‘No time like the present' and Isabel related this to feminism, using examples taken from Australia, along with the involvement of female athletes from Middle Eastern countries at the recent London Olympics.

She will now go on to represent Australia at the International English Speaking Union Public Speaking Final in London in May next year.



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