Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Brendan Moyle is Echuca Lions Youth of the Year

St Joseph’s College student Brendan Moyle has won the Echuca Lions Youth of the Year award.

ZACH HUBBER February 21, 2014 4:04am

St Joseph's year 12 student Brendan Moyle.

St Joseph’s College student Brendan Moyle won the Echuca Lions Youth of the Year award at a presentation at Rich River Golf Resort on Tuesday night.

Mr Moyle pipped Kayla Arkinstall (Echuca College), Stephanie Hindson (Moama Anglican Grammar School) and Jacob Kelly (River City Christian College) to claim the award.

He said it was an honour to have won.

‘‘Everyone spoke really well, so it was nice to be selected,’’ Mr Moyle said.

All students were interviewed by the judges on Sunday before the public speaking section on Tuesday.

The 20-minute interview focused on the students’ past leadership roles and future ambitions.

Before delivering their speech on Tuesday, the students were asked two impromptu questions:

What do you think the future holds for the Murray River in Echuca-Moama? and What are the benefits of mobile phones and social media in society?

Mr Moyle, 17, selected the topic of alcohol-fuelled violence for his speech, focusing primarily on the newly-dubbed ‘‘coward punch’’.

‘‘I watched that 60 Minutes episode of Thomas Kelly, who died after being hit with a coward punch,’’ he said.

‘‘It really struck me as to how does this kind of thing happen?

‘‘I’m in the age group now where this stuff affects me and my friends.’’

Mr Moyle’s English teacher, Jacqui Deola, nominated the year 12 student to represent the school at the competition.

‘‘He typifies everything the Youth of the Year award represents in terms of community spirit and leadership,’’ Mrs Deola said.

‘‘He’s a great role model.’’

Mr Moyle will compete at the zone stage in Numurkah on March 16.



Transcript of Mr Moyle’s speech:


Alcohol fueled violence (the coward punch)

Picture this, your child just turns 18, so they head out with a few of their friends for the first time. Theyre responsible young adults, you trust nothing bad will happen to them surely. Then a few hours into the night the phone starts ringing. Its the hospital, and your beloved 18 year old son has been admitted in and put directly on life support after one severe punch to the head. Within a day you are given no choice but to switch his life support off. Sadly this is the reality for many families in Australia, and its time Government reforms and education are implemented to combat alcohol fuelled violence, in particular the coward punch.

The term Coward Punch is described as: The most hardcore, damage-maximising, chronically solid punch that can be thrown. I firmly believe that this action of violence needs to be stopped. But how you might ask?. Harsher sentences for this type of crime need to be enforced. Possibly more police protection or new laws in reference to alcohol consumption on the streets, including safe zones and more CCTV surveillance could alleviate the problem. Educational programs could be set up throughout schools or community groups to make youth aware of the dire consequences that can stem from this alcohol fueled violence.

Something needs to be done urgently about this cowardly act on our streets. According to the Monash University’s forensic medicine department, coward punches have claimed 91 lives since 2000. Thats more than twice the number of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. We cannot let any more innocent young people die.

The current sentencing laid out for this crime is simply inadequate. On the 7th of July last year, Thomas Kelly was enjoying his first night out in Sydney’s Kings Cross. At 18, he had the world at his feet, but all that ended when a thug came out of the shadows and randomly hit Thomas. His attacker, Kieran Loveridge, who not only had previous criminal records in assault, but was also on a good behaviour bond at the time, was sentenced to just 4 years manslaughter, when the potential maximum is 25 years.

As well as the legal system, the Government too have a responsibility in halting this kind of alcohol fuelled violence. Policies or changes need to be implemented to stop these acts occurring. I propose safe zones located around areas such as CBDs. These areas will be heavily supervised by police and security, and monitored by surveillance footage. It will be in these areas where people will be sent after lockout, and free buses can be transported from these areas to set bus shelters around the area where the intoxicated can then get home safer. This will hopefully shorten the time drunken people are on the streets which will in turn lower the prevalence of alcohol fuelled violence.

I can understand why some people might be against these measures due to financial costs. The costs of buses, more security staff, CCTV cameras and more police action may add tax to everyday Australians. However I can think of something though that exceeds the costs that these measures would tally up to, funerals. Without these measures put in place, people will continue to die. It could be youre brother, youre friend, and even one day youre son. I know for sure that Id rather pay extra for these measures than to burry a loved one.

What some fail to take into account about the Coward Punch is that a large amount of ambulance time is being taken up to cater for these cowardly acts. This then reduces the time to get to other patients like heart attack and stroke victims. So it may not be your son killed by a coward punch, but it could be your mother or grandmother who isnt saved in time because the ambulances around the area are being swamped with this unnecessary alcohol fuelled violence.

A very constructive way to alter this behaviour is education. Engage a neurologist to address students about the after affects of one single punch to the head or even the extreme, a survivor of a coward punch to share their story. If students witness first hand the consequences caused by these actions, surely it will make them think twice about decisions they make whilst out involved with alcohol.

I would like to leave you with a quote from Mother of Daniel Christie, yet another victim of a coward punch. Go home and hug your children, you cant be sure of last time youll get to see them. Surely thats not how we want to live in todays society is it?

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