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Inaugural Soap Box Challenge a success

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There’s nothing more quintessential than a politician in full flight upon a soap box, with their message thundering through a megaphone. Party Leader Troy Grant may have had that image in mind when he created the Soap Box Challenge for the budding leaders in his Dubbo electorate schools. But one wonders if the competitors knew the history of the soap box upon which they stood?

The Soap Box Challenge has been running for several weeks in schools in the Dubbo electorate. 10 finalists were drawn from the Mudgee, Wellington, Narromine and Dubbo areas to compete in the final of the Soap Box Challenge which happened on Sunday April 3rd in Dubbo’s Victoria Park.

Party Leader, Dubbo MP and Deputy Premier Troy Grant hosted the event and the finalists faced a select panel of judges, including Central West Lifestyle Magazine Editor Elizabeth Tickle, 2014 Rural Women of the Year Pip Job and NSW Nationals State Director Nathan Quigley.

At stake were the Gerry Peacocke Memorial Trophy for the male winner and the Judy Jakins Perpetual Trophy for the female winner.

As each finalist took their place on the soap box they followed in the footsteps of the three Deputy Premiers who had also stood upon that humble box. Past Party Leaders and past Deputy Premiers Sir Charles Cutler and Ian Armstrong had used the soap box for numerous election campaigns, and in Forbes, during the 2011 state election campaign, Ian presented the soap box to Troy to assist him in his attempt to return Dubbo to The Nationals.

The overall winners of the Soap Box Challenge were James Barton from Macquarie Anglican Grammar School and Maree Pobje from Dubbo College Delroy Campus, with the two awards being presented by Mrs Nancy Peacocke and by Judy Jakins herself.

Deputy Premier Troy Grant said he was proud of all the finalists and was impressed with the quality of the speeches:

“The commitment and enthusiasm of all the participants throughout the competition has been encouraging.

“The talent displayed by these students impressed me and all the competition adjudicators, I’m sure there are a number of future community leaders among the competitors.”

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