Persistence paid off when brothers Matthew (Year 12) and Chris (Year 11) Jones scored an interview with federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for Ivanhoe Grammar School's community radio station.
The students secured a phone interview for the School's Inner FM channel, which airs Ivanhoe Presents on 96.5FM from 4-5pm on Fridays. The show focuses on school events and current affairs. Until now, its highest profile guest was the school principal.
Proving that it’s never too early to be bold, they initially reached out to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for an interview. When Mr Turnbull was unavailable, they weren't deterred and went straight to the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten who agreed to be interviewed for their radio program. After spending several months organising a suitable time, Chris was surprised when Mr Shorten answered the phone without a minder to discuss why he entered politics, who he admires, career frustrations and advice for aspiring politicians.
It was a far cry from their usual topics, but Mr Shorten was very responsive and Chris says he learned a lot from the experience. “Doing the radio show is helping us to develop leadership skills because we’re representing the school in the community,” he says.
Unsurprisingly, both aspire to careers in the public service. For now, the brothers are content fronting Ivanhoe Presents fortnightly, alternating with fellow students Nick Callcott, Jack Welham, Walter Jones, Antony Willison, and Oscar McIntyre.
Inner FM started 30 years ago to serve Ivanhoe and surrounding suburbs. The School’s Head of Co-Curricular Activities, Con Zois, runs Ivanhoe Presents and says it allows students to publicly discuss school issues, analyse current affairs, read poetry and promote charity and sporting events. “It’s been a great opportunity for students,” Con says. “It gets them involved. It’s expressing themselves. It’s about connecting your community.”
The Bill Shorten interview will air on Friday 22 September in the 4-5pm timeslot. Matthew and Chris now hope to contact Mr Turnbull to offer him a second chance.