Year 4 Local government and the community


Local government and the community

Resources you'll need for this lesson:

Access to the internet; Hansard excerpts (resource one); MPI teacher notes (resource two); MPI role-play script (resource three).


Lesson orientation

Focus for the lesson is looking at how community concerns are addressed by Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) as a Matter of Public Importance (MPI). Single use plastics and the “Straws Suck” campaign will be used as a case study. Students will also explore the role of local government in the ACT.

Look at the links below to introduce students to the ACTsmart “Straws Suck” campaign.


Lesson body

Class discussion

Ask students:

Look at this poster on levels of government. Ask students:

Matter of Public Importance (MPI) role play

Before conducting a class MPI have the students watch this video of students attending a theatre production of Mr Stink, discussed the issue of homelessness, and then attended the Legislative Assembly to participate in an MPI debate.

In small groups have students read the selected excerpts (resource 1) from Hansard about single use plastics and plastic straws (Full debate—Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (18 September).

The MPI raised by Ms Le Couteur will give students the opportunity to see how discussion in the Assembly raises issues that ultimately help lead to balanced decision making. After reading the excerpts have a class discussion. Talk to the students about the viewpoints of each member and how issues need to be discussed to ensure all perspectives and voices are heard.

Class MPI role play

Divide the class into 3 groups (these do not need to be even), then have each group to discuss and decide on a topic they would like to discuss as an MPI in the role play. Each topic is one sentence beginning “The importance of……….”, e.g.: Ms Le Couteur’s MPI was “The importance of reducing single-use plastic in the ACT”. Once each group has decided a topic they write it down on a piece of paper ready to be placed in a hat for a draw. Each group must also decide who the first person to speak is and write this name on the piece of paper also. Once the 3 topics are in the hat it is ready to be drawn.

The classroom should now be set up as a parliamentary chamber (or an alternative space), see teacher's MPI script (resource two) for information on how to do this. Student roles will need to be allocated including Speaker, government, opposition and cross bench (these could be 3 groups deciding MPI). Once a Speaker has been chosen (this could be done via a vote) they will draw the MPI out of the hat. The topic chosen becomes the issue for discussion, the student nominated to speak on the piece of paper will open the debate.

Students all move to their places in the parliament, allow all students 5 minutes to write a sentence or two on the selected topic before commencing the role play, they will be able to use this during the discussion. Using the MPI student script conduct the MPI role-play (resource three).


Lesson reflection

Ask students to reflect on why discussing matters of public importance is a necessary part of government in the ACT Legislative Assembly.


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