ACT Legislative Assembly


Overview

The education programs of the Legislative Assembly for the ACT aim to promote an understanding and appreciation of the role and significance of the Legislative Assembly to ACT citizens and visitors. Programs are offered to all ACT citizens, community groups, school, vocational education and university students and teachers, public servants and parliamentary and governmental delegations.Specific programs are also conducted annually for ACT students, teachers, public servants and the University of the Third Age.

Our education programs range from short one-hour visits to full day programs, we're happy to work with you to tailor a session to suit.

Programs are generally held at the Legislative Assembly. If your group is unable to visit us, we may be able to bring the program to you (dependent on staffing commitments and available resources).

Please contact us to discuss your specific requirements.

All programs, except for public service seminars, are free of charge.

Education program listing

Get to know your Assembly

This program introduces participants to the idea of political representation – why we have a legislature, how the Assembly operates and what members do. This program can include a tour of the building and a visit to the chamber to explain the unique nature of the Assembly and its place in the history of the ACT.

Duration: 1 hour

Meet the members

Gives participants an opportunity to meet local members. The audience are invited to ask questions of the MLAs about their role as parliamentarians, why they stood for office, what they do in their daily work, or to discuss current issues before the Assembly.

If you wish to discuss a specific issue a list of questions should be forwarded to education staff prior to the visit.

Duration: 30 - 45 minutes

How members are elected

Participants take part in their own election, taking on the roles of voters and polling officials in ballots such as the electorate of Sport and Celebrity. Votes are counted using the Hare-Clark electoral system which is how members of the Legislative Assembly are elected.

Delivered in conjunction with Elections ACT. Visit their website to download resources to help you run your own Hare-Clark election.

Duration: 1 hour

Question time - members at work

Participants sit in the public gallery to observe members during question time. The following debrief session discussion relates to the principles of accountable government and the protocols of parliamentary debating.

*only available on sitting days

Duration: 45 minutes

Chamber role play

Participants take on roles as the Speaker, Clerk, Attendants, Government, Opposition and Crossbench members and enact the opening of a sitting day, including the ceremonial placement of the mace in the chamber.

* available on non-sitting days only

Duration: 30 minutes

Chamber debate

Participants form an Assembly in the chamber and elect a Speaker and Chief Minister. They then take part in a debate on:

  • a motion – a proposal is presented, debated and voted upon (allows up to 10 speaking roles);
  • a matter of public importance – students speak on a topical theme (allows up to 20 speaking roles); or
  • an adjournment debate- students chose their own theme to present to the Assembly (allows up to 20 speaking roles)

* available on non-sitting days only

Duration: 30 minutes

Specific programs

Interschool parliamentary debates

The Assembly runs five interschool debates sessions each year for teams of four-to-six students from Years 7/8, 9/10 and 11/12.

The program is revised each year to reflect a broad range of current social issues, and aims to provide:

  • an introduction to the Assembly;
  • an experience of debating in the Westminster tradition;
  • the opportunity to practice public speaking skills in the formal setting of the chamber; and
  • knowledge and experience in working with parliamentary terminology and practices.

The debates are presided over by the Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly (or another member).

Places are limited. Schools wishing to participate should submit an expression of interest at the beginning of the school year.

Duration: 1 school day (9am to 3pm)

ACT schools constitutional convention

The ACT Schools' Constitutional Convention is targeted at Year 11 students and is held over two days in third term. It is organised by the Legislative Assembly for the ACT, Education Directorate, Museum of Australian Democracy, National Archives, Australian Electoral Commission, Elections ACT and Australian National University College of Law.

The program aim is to promote understanding and informed discussion about the Australian Constitution and the natinal system of government. They will listen to presentations, view historical documents, participate in role plays and discussion groups, and vote in a mock referendum on constitutional change.

Schools may enrol up to six students in this program and each year 5 students are selected to represent the ACT at the National Constitutional Convention the following year.

Duration: 2 school days (9am to 3pm)

Youth parliament

Students participate in a role play of a typical sitting session, including the presentation of petitions, moving and debating a motion, discussing a matter of public importance and an adjournment debate. Teachers are provided with an information pack on how to prepare for the session, including a selection of topics for debate.

* available on non-sitting days only

Duration: 2 hours

Professional learning for teachers

This profession development program is aimed at helping teachers to increase their understanding of how the ACT Legislative Assembly works and how members are elected using the Hare-Clark electoral system. Primary, secondary and college teachers are welcome to attend this event.

This program will not only increase participants' knowledge of the Assembly but will provide a useful teaching tool for those teachers who are engaged in teaching Civics and Citizenship programs. In addition, teachers will be able to use the knowledge gained about the Hare-Clark system to conduct classroom or SRC elections. The activity will also include the opportunity for participants to meet and question some MLAs, and visit the chamber. A certificate (record of attendance) will be provided to all participants.

Duration: Half day (9am to 12.30pm)

University of the Third Age / Seniors seminar

The ACT Legislative Assembly offers two tailored programs each year for people over 50 who are members of the University of the Third Age. This full day program aims to inform U3A members about the operation of the Assembly and the various roles that MLAs undertake. The program includes a mock Hare-Clark election, meet the members’ session, session on the importance of committees in the Assembly and visit to question time.

Other ACT residents are also welcome to attend this seminar if there are places available.

Duration: 1 day (9.30am to 3.15pm)

Public service seminars

These four half-day seminars explore the responsibilities of ACT public servants in relation to the processes and practices of the ACT Legislative Assembly. The seminars examine how MLAs are elected and their roles within the Assembly and ACT public servants, the legislative process, the operation of committees and the budget process in the Assembly. During the seminars participants are able to visit the chamber and participate in a session with MLAs.

For more information on the programs, click here. To book, please complete the registration form.

Similar seminars can be offered to individual ACT directorates on demand. 

Charges for these seminars are $110.00 (inc. GST) for each participant.

Duration: Half day (9am to 1pm)

Work experience

Work experience is offered for school and vocational education students and internships for university students. Students usually undertake a work experience program for one or two working weeks in an MLA's office.

Please note that while work experience is offered not all requests may be met. The meeting of requests is very much dependent on the workload of MLAs or the commitments of the Assembly.

If you or your students may be interested in work experience here at the Assembly, please feel free to contact the education office to discuss the possibility of a future placement.

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Page last updated on 23 February 2017
2015 Legislative Assembly for the ACT