Competition now open: School students asked to share 'What Matters?'

What Matters?

Have you got an idea about what we could do to build a better society? If you're in years 5-12 in a NSW or the ACT school, then now is your chance to have your say by entering the Whitlam Institute’s annual What Matters? essay competition.

What Matters? calls on students to submit a 400-600 word opinion piece on the issues in society that are important to them. Judged by an eminent panel of writers and journalists, the competition continues to grow in quality and popularity.

Director of the Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney, Mr Eric Sidoti, says the competition is a great opportunity for young people’s ideas to be heard.

“Last year over 3500 young people took the time to put their thoughts to paper and enter the What Matters? competition, an extraordinary thing in our fast-paced world. Their entries revealed the passion, empathy and vision of a new generation,” says Mr Sidoti.

The prizes in 2013 will include:

  • The overall competition winner will receive an iPad donated by Officeworks (opens in a new window).
  • Each category winner will be awarded $350, and a runner-up in each category will be awarded $200.
  • The Years 5/6 and 7/8 category winners will each receive a full-day creative writing workshop donated by The Writing Worskshop (opens in a new window), conducted by award-winning author Bernard Cohen.
  • The Year 9/10 category winner will also be invited to spend a day at the Inspire Foundation (opens in a new window), meeting the (opens in a new window) Crew and receiving professional training. They will also be offered the opportunity to be paid $200 to produce a feature article for the website.
  • The Year 11/12 category winner will receive a $100 book voucher.
  • Winners and runners-up will receive their prize at an awards ceremony, following their participation in a Young Writers Forum at the University of Western Sydney's Parramatta campus.
  • All winning entries will be published in print and online.

Entries close Friday 3 May 2013. Entry forms can be downloaded from

For more information, contact the Whitlam Institute on (02) 9685 9187, or keep in touch on Facebook at (opens in a new window).


4 February 2013

Contact: Danielle Roddick, Senior Media Officer