Updated on 10th November 2014

Civics & Citizenship News

State Convention: Hansard from day - Monday 20th October

For the official Hansard from the event, click here


A selection of photos coming soon!

State Convention: Program for day (Monday 20th October)

The complete OFFICIAL PROGRAM can be downloaded HERE

8:15 - 8:30am = Arrive at Parliament House (main steps) and enter via security (including metal detectors).
8:30 - 8:45am = Registration (inside Parliament House - vestibule)
8:50am = Seated in Legislative Assembly
9:00am SHARP = Welcome to Country and official opening of day
3:15pm = close of program and end of day
Important notes:

  • Please do NOT bring large bags. Where possible no bag would be ideal (maybe a clipboard, your wallet etc and any personal items/medications you might need). When a bag IS required, it must be stored prior to entry into official chambers and this can be both time consuming and problematic in terms of space if everyone is doing this!
  • We suggest you bring a pen and if possible we recommend that each school group brings an electronic device or two (not one each person!) to access the internet (ideally an ipad or small laptop, fully charged). We hope to ensure that each group (made up of students from different schools) will have at least one device upon which to upload their notes and resolutions. This will enable email collection of notes during the discussion group sessions to help drive proceedings when in the Legislative Assembly.
  • It is recommended that students wear school uniform where applicable.
  • While morning tea IS provided, lunch is NOT. Please bring your own lunch or lunch can be sourced during the lunch break from nearby. Lunch is approx. 40 minutes duration.

State Convention: student information pack online NOW!

The State Convention topic is:

"Australia is in a ‘budget crisis’ and all Australians must share the burden – directly and indirectly."

This event will be held on 20 October 2014. Thank you to all of the students who applied to participate in this event and congratulations to those who have been selected!
Please ensure that you have forwarded the organisers all required paperwork (permissions etc).

A student information booklet, including background research for the topic, is available for download HERE.

Registered participants should read this material to help them, develop their responses to the event topic/contention. Information has been divided into various categories to assist students with their preparation. Students are encouraged to NOT be limited to the material featured here - use this as a base from which to conduct your own research into areas of interest to you. In this way, the organisers do not seek to pre-judge what a participant's view is or should be. The intention of events such as this is to encourage democratic principles, allow for the expression of youth voice, facilitate collaboration and foster independent thought and reasoned debate.

Schools' Constitutional Conventions program

The Schools’ Constitutional Conventions program in Victoria is managed through collaboration between the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD), Social Education Victoria, Catholic Education Office Melbourne, Independent Schools Victoria and the Parliament of Victoria.

Designed for senior secondary (Years 9-12) students, the program consists of a series of Regional Conventions hosted by government and non-government schools, a State Convention held at Parliament House in October of each year and a National Convention held in Canberra during March or April of the following year. The aims of the program are to provide students with opportunities to explore contemporary political and social issues, promote student understanding of the Australian system of government and demonstrate how the Australian Constitution provides the framework for our democracy.

Prospective host schools will find that a Regional Convention is a wonderful way to engage with the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship framework while linking with their extra-curricular interests and activities. The program has successfully engaged thousands of students from schools across the state and invites participation of students from a range of backgrounds and interests. Although this program is perfect for students of Politics, Legal Studies, Humanities and English, it is also a great opportunity for students with a range of other interests – in particular Social Justice and Civics and Citizenship. The program offers a wonderful chance for public speaking and is a natural fit for schools seeking an authentic and meaningful activity for their student leaders.

The important underlying theme of the program is student involvement and host schools are encouraged to involve students across all stages of the program: the planning, organising and running of the Conventions.

For more details, please see the relevant page on this wiki HERE. This site will be updated during 2014 and will provide important contact details, advice on applications for support and further information for interested schools.

Completed 2014 Regional Conventions (*please scroll down)
1
Glen Waverley Secondary College hosted a Regional Convention on Thursday 3rd April , bringing together Years 10-12 students from various schools across the Monash City Council region to discuss the very important topic of human rights.

Event details:

The overarching prompt that participants were invited to consider was: “Is Australia’s human rights policy adequate?”

Students heard from keynote speakers and participated in a range of student- developed activities that sought to promote discussion about Australia’s management of the issue, in order to gain insights into the complexity of human rights. Congratulations to Jenny and the team (staff and students of GWSC) who held a highly interesting and informative event. We encourage Jenny, invited teachers from the other schools and all of the students involved to set their sights on attending the State Convention to be held in October!

Staff member in charge: Jenny Tran email jtn@gwsc.vic.edu.au

2
St Catherine's School, Toorak hosted a regional convention on Thursday 17th July, bringing together years 10-12 students from across the City of Stonnington and City of Booroondara regions to discuss the issues relating to amending the constitution.

Event details:

The overarching prompt that participants were invited to consider was: “Australia's constitution should be fully amended to reflect our status as good global citizens”.

Students heard from three keynote speakers discussing the Australia's position on refugees currently and in the past as an example of being good global citizens. Students then participated in soapbox sessions and modelling a constitutional referendum on the contention. Congratulations to Karyn Murray and the team of staff and students who made the day a great success.

Staff member in charge: Karyn Murray email: KMurray@stcatherines.net.au

*For a copy of the program, please click HERE

3
Lalor Secondary College hosted a regional convention on Friday 8th August bringing students together from across Melbourne's northern suburbs.

Event details:

The overarching prompt that participants were invited to consider was: "Do we need three levels of Government, and if so, should they all be protected by the Constitution?”.

On Friday 8 August Lalor Secondary College hosted a regional constitutional convention, for senior students from their school as well as Sirius College and St Monica's College, on the theme of 'Do we need three levels of Government, and if so, should they all be protected by the Constitution?' The day, an almost entirely student-facilitated event, provided much food for thought for student delegates and commenced with an engaging and informative overview of the Australian constitution and the role of the different levels of Government, presented by Professor Brian Costar from the Swinburne Institute for Social Research. This was followed by presentations from representatives of each level of government, firstly from the Federal Member for Scullin, then the State Member for Thomastown, followed by the Mayor of the City of Whittlesea. Finally, Mr. David Mould, Director of Second Strike, put forward a controversial proposal for the students to consider - that there should be more levels of government, enabling more room for the youth voice to be heard. Rigorous debate by student delegates, coupled with interludes of student musical performances, made the Regional Schools Constitutional Convention at Lalor Secondary College an enjoyable and worthwhile educational opportunity for students and a good example of a student voice activity in action.

Staff member in charge: Peter Leos Phone: 9463 7300 email: leos.peter.p@edumail.vic.gov.au

4
Ballarat Grammar School hosted a convention on Thursday 21 August bringing students together from across the Ballarat region.

Event details:

The overarching prompt that participants were invited to consider was: "Should rights, especially those of marginalised groups, be protected under the Australian Constitution? If so, how?"

A group of very engaged and capable senior students from a range of regional schools convened at Ballarat Grammar on Thursday 21 August. They were participating in a Constitutional Convention very ably organised by Sophie Fenton and Ian Riethoff, both staff members at Ballarat Grammar. Following a welcome by school principal Stephen Higgs, the students turned their attention to the topic for consideration: "Should rights, especially those of marginalised groups, be protected under the Australian Constitution? If so, how?" The keynote address was presented by Senator Richard di Natale, a member of the Australian Greens Party. His presentation was thoughtful, responsive and very engaging for the students who listened intently. They asked excellent questions and had clearly been engaged in deep thinking about the issues prior to the day. Following the presentation, students participated in a range of activities that sought to promote discussion about Australia’s management of the issue, in order to gain insights into the complexity of human rights, particularly issues associated with those seeking asylum as refugees. Congratulations to Sophie and Ian for all of their work in preparing for the session, and to the students, other teachers and presenters who combined their efforts to make it an enjoyable and productive day. We hope to see a number of the participants at the State Convention in Parliament House on 20 October.

Staff members in charge: Sophie Fenton email: sophie.fenton@bgs.vic.edu.au and Ian Riethoff email:ian.riethoff@bgs.vic.edu.au

5

Mackillop Catholic Regional College Werribee hosted a convention on Friday 29 August bringing students together from across the region.

Event details:


The overarching prompt that participants were invited to consider was: “Is Australia fulfilling its international obligations to asylum seekers?”

This Wyndham Schools Constitutional Convention provided a group of Years 9-12 students from six local schools with the opportunity to engage in a debate on asylum seeker issues and Australia’s refugee and humanitarian policy through a one-day facilitated conference. Upon arrival to the convention, guests were warmly greeted by music from the school’s brass band, which was followed by a welcome by the school’s Social Justice Captains who lead the day’s proceedings. Keynote speakers including two politicians, an educator and social commentator and a Sister who volunteers with asylum seekers set the scene for the day by presenting their respective views on the topic at hand. Clearly an issue that has divided community attitudes, the speakers presented divergent views, culminating in a passionate panel discussion reminiscent of the ABC’s Q&A. Democracy in action it was, with the students “joining the conversation” by asking questions of the panel and then breaking into groups for further discussions with their peers.

The students presented well-considered arguments for and against the topic of whether or not Australia is fulfilling its obligations to marginalised groups including refugees. Guests to the convention were impressed by the students’ ability to engage in such a complex issue and respectfully express their views whilst also demonstrating compassion. A number of actions were drafted by the students who considered how they could personally respond and take action, as well as influence the opinions and actions of others. A fine example of student civic participation, the Wyndham Schools Constitutional Convention enabled local students to witness the different rhetoric that surrounds the ongoing refugee and humanitarian debate, as well as form their own views on a topical issue that is very real for the City of Wyndham.

Staff member in charge: Russell Ives Phone: 8734 5200 email: rives@mackillop.vic.edu.au



6
Mater Christi hosted a Regional Convention on Friday 5 September bringing together students from the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne.


The overarching prompt that participants were invited to consider was:v Are the disadvantaged being left behind by Australia’s political and economic policies?

Staff member in charge: Maryanne McPhee, Shae Mayes, James Bakker (phone: 97570837 email: mcphee_m@materchristi.edu.au)



7 Sunbury College hosted a Regional Convention on Tuesday 9 September, bringing together Years 10-12 students from various schools in the Sunbury Region.

Event details:

The overarching prompt that participants were invited to consider was: "The issue of refugees and Australia's treatment of them is becoming an international embarrassment."

The students were discussing issues relating to Australian Government policies on asylum seekers. Students were engaged by a number of speakers - Greens Senator Janet Rice, a representative from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Abdi Aden (Go Back to Where You Came From, SBS) and Dr Michael O'Keefe from La Trobe University. The students were asked to consider opposing ethical arguments and debates such as border security vs asylum seeking, human rights vs state sovereignty, and to discuss issues of children in detention. Students were engaged and came up with various solutions and decrees which were voted on and passed to appropriate ministers.

Staff member in charge: Siobhan Shaw (email: shaw.siobhan.p@edumail.vic.gov.au phone: 9744 1066)

STATE CONVENTION - Monday 20 October 2014

Schools' State Constitutional Convention, Parliament House, Melbourne.



The State Convention topic is:

"Australia is in a ‘budget crisis’ and all Australians must share the burden – directly and indirectly."



This event will be held on 20 October 2014. Thank you to all of the students who applied to participate in this event and congratulations to those who have been selected!

Please ensure that you have forwarded the organisers all required paperwork (permissions etc).



A student information booklet, including background research for the topic, is available for download HERE.



Registered participants should read this material to help them, develop their responses to the event topic/contention. Information has been divided into various categories to assist students with their preparation. Students are encouraged to NOT be limited to the material featured here - use this as a base from which to conduct your own research into areas of interest to you. In this way, the organisers do not seek to pre-judge what a participant's view is or should be. The intention of events such as this is to encourage democratic principles, allow for the expression of youth voice, facilitate collaboration and foster independent thought and reasoned debate.



Students who have demonstrated involvement in the regional convention program, or as part of a similar United Nations or VicSRC event, are eligible to apply. The State Convention is an action-packed day where students can join their peers from around Victoria in learning about the political environment, debating current issues and sharing ideas and visions for the future. Please refer to the Conventions Handbook, located HERE, for more information.