The Parliamentary Education unit within the ACT Legislative Assembly promotes an
understanding and appreciation of the role and significance of the Assembly as a parliament
to a range of visitors. Programs are held at the Legislative Assembly or off-site on request and
according to availability.
Members may also be invited to speak to school and community groups by arrangement
through the Member’s office. To contact a Member select Members and then Members at a
Glance for individual contact details.
Booking a Program
To book a visit/program, download the Booking Form and fax to 6205 0006 or phone the
Education Officer on 6205 3016.
You will need to provide the following details:-
• Contact details (including name of school/organisation, phone, fax and email details)
• Year/age level
• Proposed date of visit (provide an alternate date if possible)
• Number of participants
• Modules – please select from the modules offered to create a program tailored to meet
your educational needs.
Most programs begin at 9.30am and finish by 2.45pm to cater for the school bus timetable.
However, shorter programs can be arranged and start/finish times are flexible to fit in with
Groups of 10 to 80 can be catered for according to room and program availability.
A booking is not final until confirmation is received from the Education Office.
Select from the following modules:
1. ELECTING MEMBERS OF THE ACT LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Years 4- Adult Timeframe:- 45 minutes -1 hour
Legislative Assembly Parliamentary Education staff work with staff from Elections ACT to
conduct a mock Hare-Clark election. Students actively take on roles of electoral officials and
count the vote following the same process used to elect Members of the ACT Legislative
Assembly. Topics include Extreme Sports, Exotic Holidays, Olympics, Rock Ballot, Motor
Vehicles, Munchies, Television. Students elect three preferred items to represent them.
*Visit Elections ACT website – www.elections.act.gov.au -select Electoral Education, then
Electoral Education Resources to download templates and instructions on how to run a Hare-
Clark Election. Some high schools and colleges use this process to elect their SRC
2. ONE OF A KIND – FILM ON THE ACT LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Years 4 - Adult Timeframe:- 12 Minutes
This film provides a comprehensive overview of the role of the ACT Legislative Assembly
and its Members. There is a captioned and non-captioned version available.
3. POWERPOINT PRESENTATION
Year 4- Adult Timeframe:- 10-30 minutes
depending on selection
A tailored PowerPoint presentation can be viewed alone, in lieu of the captioned film, or may
follow the film to reinforce certain aspects about the parliament. The PowerPoint covers the
• Current MLAs and the composition of the Legislative Assembly
• From an Act to a Bill – outlines the process of passing legislation
• Papers and procedures of the Chamber – lists and outlines the function of the
Daily Program, Notice Paper, Minutes of Proceedings and Hansard
• The Committee System – a brief overview of the committee process
4. MEET THE MEMBERS
Yr 4-Adult Timeframe:- 30 – 45minutes
(depending on Member availability)
Members are invited to speak to students about their role as parliamentarians. Members can
give an overview of why they are MLAs, what they do on a day to day basis, discuss their
role as a member of the Government, the Opposition or the Crossbench, or discuss some of
the current issues before the Legislative Assembly.
This session may include speaking with individual Members (10-15 minutes each) or a panel
of MLAs – one from the Government, Opposition and the Crossbench (if available). Members
are happy to take questions from students after their initial introduction if this the preferred
mode of interaction. This session can focus on a specific topic for older students.
* If teachers want students to discuss a specific topic a list of questions must be forwarded to
Members prior to the day of the visit.
5. PAPERS AND PROCEDURES
Highschool - Adult Timeframe:- 20-30 minutes
The Clerk or Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Assembly talks in detail about the procedures
and papers of the Legislative Assembly including the Daily Program, Notice Paper, Minutes
of Proceedings and the role of the Clerks. Examples of recent Chamber papers are
disseminated to show students what items were dealt with on a particular day.
6. The Committee Process
Highschool - Adult Timeframe:- 20-60minutes
*Depending on depth of content required.
A Committee Secretary outlines the role and function of Legislative Assembly Committees.
This segment covers the composition and number of committees, the inquiry process
including how members of the community can lodge a submission, public hearings and the
tabling of a report.
* A committee role play on Driver’s Licences can be downloaded from this website for use
within the classroom - Committee: Inquiry into the Driving Age Amendment Bill 2004.
7. Short – Role Play in the Chamber
Yr 4 - Highschool Timeframe:- 20-30minutes
per 30 students
This role play can be selected to follow on from the film and PowerPoint presentation on the
Composition of the Legislative Assembly. Students take on roles as the Speaker, Clerks,
Government, Opposition and Crossbench and enact the opening of a sitting day with the
Speaker entering the Chamber and the placement of the Mace, then a brief discussion of a bill
followed by a vote.
*dependent on the availability of the Chamber.
8. Class Role Play
Yr 7 and above – Highschool Timeframe:- 60 minutes
The following role plays are scripted but students can add some ad lib at the end of the
material. The first is actual text taken from Hansard (Legislative Assembly’s record of debate
in the house) while the second is a created script:
Smoke Free Areas (Enclosed Public Places) Bill 1993 – This bill is based on initial
legislation to reduce smoking in restaurants, clubs and pubs in the ACT.
No Junk Food in School Canteens (Health) Bill 2005 – simulated role play about
banning junk food from school canteens.
PARLIAMENTARY EDUCATION OFFICE
1. Interschool Parliamentary Debates –Year 8 / 9 and Year 10
The Interschool Parliamentary Debates program is held twice a year for Years 8 & 9 and
twice a year for Year 10, once each during Term Two and Term Three.
The program aims to:
• introduce students to the Legislative Assembly and to the procedure of parliamentary
• provide a program for students in Years 8 and 9, and in Year 10, that gives practice in
public speaking in a formal setting - the Chamber of the ACT Legislative Assembly; and
• provide knowledge and experience in working with parliamentary terminology and
Schools enrol four students to form a team and may choose to enrol in one or both debates for
the year. To register for the debates, schools should contact the Legislative Assembly
Education Officer on 6205 3016. Letters are sent out to schools inviting registration also.
A maximum of 10 schools may participate in each debate program.
Prior to the day of the debates:
Each debate has a particular theme. A series of focus questions/statements have been developed
which relate to the theme. One of these questions/statements will be allocated to two schools –
School A and School B.
School A (Presenting School):
• develops a case which investigates the focus question or statement;
• decides whether to agree or disagree with the statement/question;
• has a maximum of 5 minutes to present their case;
• each team member must also answer one question that is asked by the Questioning School
[Questions with Notice – these are sent to the school before the debate so students can
prepare a response]. Each member has 2 minutes maximum to answer the question.
School B (Questioning School):
• must contact their Presenting School to ascertain whether they are presenting the case for
or against the statement/question;
• develops and submits, prior to the day of the debates, four Questions with Notice relating
to the topic [to be answered by School A]. Students’ questions should be penetrating and
not take longer than 30 seconds to ask.
On the day of the debates:
• one member of School A (Presenting School) presents their team’s case for or against the
• each of the 4 members of School B (Questioning School) asks a Questions with Notice of
School A. Each Question with Notice is responded to by a member of School A. It is the
responsibility of the Team Leader of the Presenting School to ensure that all questions are
• after School B’s four Questions with Notice are answered, question time is opened up to
allow any student from any team to question School A on their topic/presentation.
The total time allocated for presentation and questioning will be 20 minutes per topic.
Every school will present on a topic and question on a topic.
Whilst we are calling this program Interschool Parliamentary Debates the outcome is not
adjudicated as is the case with regular debates. The debates are presided over by the Speaker
of the ACT Legislative Assembly (or another Member if the Speaker is unavailable) who is in
charge of time keeping and maintaining order. At the conclusion of each debate the Speaker
holds a vote on a statement about the topic. Students are asked to say aye if in favour or no to
show they are against. If it is difficult to judge the result a hand count will be conducted.
(This follows the manner of deciding the vote in the Chamber.) The Speaker will also offer a
comment about the ‘performance’ of each of the teams.
2. ACT Schools Constitutional Convention
The ACT Schools’ Constitutional Convention is a program for Year 11 students, with support
from current Year 12 students selected to represent the ACT at the National Constitutional
Convention and ANU law students. This event is held annually mid Term 3 (or as close to
this time as can be organised). It is organised jointly by the Legislative Assembly for the
ACT, the Department of Education and Training, Old Parliament House, the National
Archives, the Australian Electoral Commission and Elections ACT.
The aim of the ACT Schools’ Constitutional Convention is to promote understanding and
informed discussion amongst young Australians about the Australian Constitution and system
of government. During this event a small group of students are also selected to participate in
the National Schools’ Constitutional Convention held at Parliament House the following year.
The program is run over two consecutive days with a partial-day held at the National Archives
and Old Parliament House and a full day at the ACT Legislative Assembly.
On Day One, students are introduced to the Australian Constitution by a professor from the
ANU College of Law. They also have the opportunity to view displays about the constitution
and to participate in a partially scripted debate on constitutional change in the House of
Representatives Chamber of Old Parliament House.
On Day Two, students take on the role of the public from a particular state or territory to
consider a specific amendment to the constitution. The arguments for and against the change
are presented to the students and then discussed in state/territory groups to achieve a
state/territory point of view. Finally the students participate in a referendum conducted by
officials from the Australian Electoral Commission.
During Term 2, the invitation to participate in the ACT Schools’ Constitutional Convention is
sent out from the Department of Education to all government and non-government schools
with Year 11 students. Schools may enroll four students and two reserves by completing and
returning the registration form. Enquiries about registration can also be directed to the
Legislative Assembly Education Officer on 6205 3016.