National Schools Constitutional Convention

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7 May 2018

Victorian supervisor Ms Anne-Louise Sheehan (Mater-  Christi College, Belgrave), Joel Blanch (Sacred Heart  College, Kyneton) and Senator Penny Wong.Approximately 120 students from government, independent and Catholic schools from across Australia, covering metropolitan and country areas attend the National Schools Constitutional Convention every year in Canberra. The Convention seeks to promote understanding and informed discussion amongst young Australians about the Australian Constitution and system of government. The project is managed by National Curriculum Services in collaboration with the Australian Curriculum Studies Association.

 

The Convention topic that delegates were tasked to investigate and come to a conclusion about was, 'Is Section 44 of the Constitution relevant in modern Australia?' Through a program of pre-reading, working groups, keynote speakers and soap-box sessions, delegates considered a wide range of issues around the topic before considering their preferred option for changing the Constitution. The Convention was facilitated by Emeritus Professor John Warhurst AO.

 

I believe the common message under all these highlights was the ability to actually meet and speak with different politicians, this for me helped to foster a stronger interest in politics. Another really interesting point of the convention was being able go to and explore the high court.

Joel Blanch, Sacred Heart College, Kyneton

 

I learnt many useful skills, skills that are not only applicable to my Units 3 and 4 legal studies, but also practical applications in life, such as communication, and compromise. Within our small groups, we had to discuss and present findings that we all agreed on.
Danielle Laura, Marymede Catholic College, South Morang

 

Just standing in places that have played such a large role in shaping the history and present of Australian politics was astonishing, places such as the High Court, The Governor-Generals House, Old Parliament House and Parliament House had me in awe. This was not the only great thing about going to these landmarks; being in such important places also gave me the chance to be around some of the most politically prevalent people today.
Ryan Gambin, St Monica’s College, Epping

 

The students’ final deliberations and vote on the topic is available as a communique on the National Curriculum Services website. Other Melbourne Catholic schools represented were Genazzano FCJ College, Kew, Mater Christi College, Belgrave, and Our Lady Mercy College, Heidelberg.