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VCAA Bulletin
No. 81 August 2022


Anna is smiling and holding her trophies after winning the State final of PESA

PESA 2022 state winner Anna Blinks van-Broekhoven

Passionate speeches at the Plain English Speaking Award 2022

The state final of the Plain English Speaking Award (PESA) 2022 was held on Friday 22 July at the Wheeler Centre.

After two years of being held only online, this time it was both streamed and presented in front of an enthusiastic live audience.

The final was emceed by Tierney Khan, who won the Victorian State Final in 2020 with her polemic ‘Not another speech about feminism’. She praised the speakers for their ability to render complex arguments in simple, direct language. Aayushi Khillan, VCAA Board member, welcomed the audience and presented an incisive keynote.

The 7 state finalists delivered insightful and well-constructed speeches on a range of themes. Topics included reductive monolingualism in Australia, illicit data mining, protecting whistle blowers, the Victorian education system and being a young voter.

Arshia Rana from Glen Waverly Secondary College was the runner-up, with her speech ‘Crimes against Australia – why we should change the date of Australia Day.’ Arshia presented a scathing assessment of Australia’s lack of a decolonisation project, arguing that changing the date of Australia Day is ‘a simple decision that we can make immediately’.

Anna Blinks van-Broekhoven, from Waverley Christian College, was the state winner. Anna spoke on discrimination against disability in the public transport system, invoking her personal experience. She recalled how bus drivers sometimes drive past her at the bus stop, rather than take the time to prepare a boarding ramp for her. She also highlighted that only 15 per cent of trams in Victoria are accessible.

For Anna, the message is clear. ‘You are less than. You people do not fit in with our new and existing society. Stay hidden behind car doors, we do not want to deal with you and your problems.’

Anna will represent Victoria at the PESA national final in September. We congratulate her and the other finalists for their remarkable speeches.