Learning about parliament through regional visits
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Learning about parliament through regional visits

December 9, 2019

Narrator: Students and teachers across Victoria
are getting the chance to experience how parliament works through the Victorian Parliament’s regional
visits program. Each year the parliament’s regional visit team travels to various regional
centres, running parliamentary education programs that involve interactive sessions, including
role plays. Pablo Diaz: The parliament does the education
role play sessions as it provides the students with an opportunity to act out roles within
the parliament such as Speaker, Premier, Clerks, and by doing this it means that they get a
better understanding of what parliament does in terms of making laws and how laws are made
and debated within the chamber. So the feedback we get from the teachers is that this involvement
from the students helps them gain that better understanding than just having someone speak
at them for a whole hour there. In terms of the outreach component, we visit regional
areas because it makes it easier for schools to come to a hall in their local area than
to come to Melbourne. Narrator: Students become key players in the
political drama of Spring Street by acting out the steps involved in getting a law through
the Legislative Assembly. Student: The role I played was the Speaker.
My favourite part was being able to tell everybody what to do and how to do it.
Student: My role was Serjeant-at-Arms and my favourite part was when everyone was just
talking and having their say. Student: Well I was the Premier and my favourite
part was being able to display my point of view.
Narrator: More than 200 students participated in a recent parliamentary program conducted
in Swan Hill. They enjoyed the practical sessions, honing their public speaking and debating
skills while learning about the role of parliament and how a law is made.
Pablo Diaz: Well we make it engaging to the students – not only do they play a role in
parliament there but we actually provide props. So we set up the room as a mini chamber.
Student: My role was keeping the chamber in check and my favourite part of it was when
you got to say order and everyone else had to stop.
Student: I was the Serjeant-at-Arms and my role was to walk the Speaker in. The best
part was having the Mace. Student: My role was to debate on whether
eating healthier or not should be advertised and my best part was where I had to speak
up for debating should we have it or not. Narrator: Teachers also get to be involved.
Xavier Kennedy: The benefits for the students in taking part in the parliamentary role play
– it allowed them to have an inside experience where they obviously wouldn’t get that opportunity
living in the country, and to see the different levels of government and how that is related
back to their local government in a country setting. I think it’s very valuable for them
to be able to use that and hopefully take it back to the classroom.
Mark Bonney: The benefits the students get from the parliamentary role play are that
they get to experience what government’s like in the lower and upper houses in state level
government. Narrator: It’s the reality of parliament brought
from Spring Street to schools across Victoria. For more information visit www.parliament.vic.gov.au/visit
or call the Tours and Customer Service Unit on 9651 8962.

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