Feature Week 34: Senators
Senator Catryna Bilyk
In week 34 we shine the spotlight on two senators who appreciate the importance and pleasure of reading, Senator Kate Lundy and Senator Catryna Bilyk.
Senator Catryna Bilyk is a member of the Australian Senate, representing Tasmania. She was born in Hobart and has lived in Tasmania for most of her life. Before joining the parliament, Senator Bilyk was employed in a variety of roles including medical administration, child care worker, and a trade union industrial officer and then training officer. She was responsible for setting up the first Union Jobskills Program. In her capacity as a Senator, Catryna serves on many Senate committees, including the Joint Standing Committee on the Parliamentary Library.
Catryna's thoughts on reading and the National Year of Reading
Reading is a foundational skill, used in every facet of our daily lives. It provides information, insight, and inspiration to our lives. The National Year of Reading reminds us of just how important reading is, and provides an opportunity to improve our skills, to re-experience the joys of reading, and to promote reading to those around us. I will be using the National Year of Reading to promote reading to the people of Tasmania via a speech to the Australian Senate, as well as donating books to schools this year for prizes and awards. It is pleasing to see that many schools in Tasmania are holding activities, including book parades and reading challenges, to promote the importance of reading to children.
Senator Bilyk's speech can be found on the following website:
Catryna's reading habits
- Which book is by your bedside right now?
'The little coffee book of Kabul' by Deborah Rodriguez.
- What's your perfect holiday read? Something that is light and easy to follow.
- What was the last book you bought from a bookshop?
'Left neglected' by Lisa Genova.
- What was the last book you received as a gift?
Jodi Picoult's Lone wolf.
- What was the first e-book you downloaded?
'Cradle and all' by James Patterson.
- How do you get hold of books? From the library, bookshop, gifts and online.
- Was your family a reading family? My mum was a great reader. I enjoyed reading to my children when they were young and still have some of their favourite books that I read to my great nephews.
- Do you use your local public library? Yes and have done wherever I have lived since I was seven years old.
- Where do you read? Is there a special place in your house for reading? At home and in the office and on aeroplanes or when travelling.
- What author or illustrator has most influenced you? How have they done so?
In recent years, Jodi Picoult. Her books evoke thought and emotion. She writes about important social and moral issues. Her writing is very perceptive and usually with a twist right at the end.
Catryna's favourite reads
'Diary of Anne Frank'
This true story, about a young girl who was similar in age to me when I first read it, opened my eyes to the horrors of genocide, the Holocaust and the war. The day by day accounts of life, from the perspective of a young person, enabled me to understand the trials, tribulations and traumatic experiences of war, not just for the author, but for the Jewish people.
'To kill a mocking bird'
Originally read as a high school text, to me this book portrays the inequality, racism and injustices of South America during the 1930's, along with a very clear message that taking action for change, even if it's only a small action, by one person in a small area, is important. To me the book explores human morality issues, and I enjoy this type of reading. I enjoyed that the book was written from a child's perspective.
'Tess of the d'Urbevilles'
I read this book as one of my required College literature texts (which is probably the only reason I did - as a lot of the Victorian language was hard to follow). However, thanks to a great teacher it has become one of my all time favourites. I remember that I enjoyed the class discussions around social and class differences, double standards in relation to women and sexualisation, and religious differences and issues of the times portrayed throughout the book. It was interesting to watch Tess trying to change the course of her life, but at every turn being thwarted because of her poverty and circumstances beyond her control.
Want to know more?
- If you are interested in finding out more about Senator Bilyk, go to her website:
- You might also be interested in taking a look at our other featured ambassador for this week, Senator Kate Lundy:
- If you want to find out about all the National Year of Reading ambassadors, go to our ambassadors page:
- Other featured ambassadors can be found on the ambassador feature week listing: