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Victorian student wins 2015 PESA National Final

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall, winner of the Plain English Speaking
Award National Final 2015

Matthew Hall, from Ballarat Grammar, will represent Australia in the English Speaking Union (ESU) international public speaking competition in London, after winning this year’s Plain English Speaking Award National Final. The final was held at the ACT Legislative Assembly in Canberra on Monday 10 August 2015, where students from across Australia competed for the honour of national champion.

Matthew presented his Victorian final PESA speech, ‘Growing coffee’, which explores the economic and socio-political effects of Victoria’s booming coffee culture and industry. The seven national finalists spoke about a range of issues including rehabilitation and the prison system, domestic violence and the labour laws in the fashion industry.

Finalists were also required to present a three-minute impromptu speech on the surprise topic ‘The road not taken’. The students presented speeches using this theme to discuss a wide-range of topics including space travel, same sex marriage, the protection of cultural artefacts during conflict and climate change.

VCAA Chair Chris Wardlaw congratulated Matthew on his success: ‘Matthew is an outstanding public speaker and will be an exemplary representative for Australia at the international competition. The Plain English Speaking Award gives students the opportunity to bring issues that they are passionate about into the public arena for discussion. The National Final brings together like-minded students who enjoy developing their communication and research skills.’

Matthew won $8000 from BBM Ltd. to go towards his attendance at the ESU international public speaking competition in May 2016. It won’t be a long trip for Matthew, as he is planning to be in Scotland for a gap year.

The runner-up was Isabella Monardo from Kincoppal-Rose Bay School, NSW; Lauren Northcote of Darwin High School was given a special commendation. All national finalists were given a limited edition 20-cent coin from the Royal Australian Mint that celebrated the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.

The last Victorian who won the national competition was Ellie Jamonts from Star of the Sea College in 2011.

For more information visit the Plain English Speaking Award webpage.