ACT Legislative Assembly


The 2019 ACT Schools Constitutional Convention is scheduled for the Thursday 25 and Friday 26 July 2019 at the following locations: National Archives of Australia, The Museum of Australian Democracy and the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory.

The topic for the 2019 convention will be Should the Commonwealth Parliament have specific powers to legislate for the environment?


Expression of Interest form

Aims of the Convention

The ACT Schools Constitutional Convention aims to:

  • provide an opportunity for students in Years 11 to explore contemporary constitutional issues
  • encourage students to become better informed about the Australian system of government and how the Australian Constitution provides the framework for our democracy
  • encourage senior students to take an active interest in the traditions, processes and practices of government
  • allow students to discuss and debate contemporary Australian political issues.

An Overview of the Program

The ACT Schools Constitutional Convention is organised collaboratively by the National Archives of Australia, ACT Legislative Assembly, the ACT Department of Education and Training, Museum of Australian Democracy (Old Parliament House), the Australian Electoral Commission and Elections ACT.

The program is designed specifically for Year 11 students. It is anticipated that the students will have an interest in civics, active citizenship and current affairs; be willing to act as an ambassador for their school / college and be accompanied by a supervising teacher.

The convention is a two day program. The first day takes place at the National Archives and Old Parliament House where students will learn about the Constitution and its role as a foundation document in Australian democracy. Students will visit the new Museum of Australian Democracy for a historical perspective on constitutional issues, and take part in a role play on the Franklin River at Old Parliament House.

The second Day takes place at the ACT Legislative Assembly where the convention will debate a topical constitutional change, namely the issue of whether the Commonwealth Parliament should have broad powers to legislate for the environment?

As a convention delegate, you will be expected to read the attached research material, undertake additional research (if you feel you need to), actively engage in discussion and debate over the two days and be sufficiently informed to vote in the referendum at the end of the second day.

Delegates are expected to attend the full two day program, and will be required to sign in and out of each session to record individual attendance.

Five students will be selected from this year's participants to represent the ACT at the next year's National Schools Convention at Parliament House, Canberra. One hundred and twenty students from around Australia will be at this national event.

The Theme of the Convention

This year's Convention will investigate the constitutional powers that were the focus of the Franklin River issue and subsequent environmental issues, namely whether the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia should have specific powers to legislate on the environment. We will consider a broad range of arguments for and against the issue and the question of whether such a change is appropriate with respect to the views of states and territories. We will also look at how constitutional change is affected through Section 128 and the operation of a referendum.


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Page last updated on 23 July 2019
2015 Legislative Assembly for the ACT