ACT Schools Constitutional Convention

Students with ANU law lecturer Ryan Lewis at the ACT Schools Constitutional Convention

Students with ANU law lecturer Ryan Lewis at the ACT Schools Constitutional Convention

By Narasimha Rangachari, Year 11

The two-day extravaganza that was Constitutional Convention 2017 on 28 and 29 July can only be described as: educational, entertaining and enlightening. Our experience kicked off at the National Archives of Australia, where we received our ‘pocket constitutions’ (a book that we treasured throughout the two days of the convention). We also heard a lecture on constitutional law, how the constitution was formed, how it works and, if necessary, how to change it. We learnt about how politicians in the past have utilised clauses and edicts to enable federal legislation. We paid close attention to the Franklin Dam Case of 1983, and even went as far as recreating the parliamentary speeches made that day in the old Parliament House. This case paved the way for our activity on day two, when we were stationed in the ACT Legislative Assembly to discuss if the Federal Government should have control over the environmental decisions of the nation, an issue that resulted in us having to study and attempt to change the Constitution.

Students with collegian Alistair Coe MLA at the ACT Schools Constitutional Convention

Significant debate resulted in the decision not to modify the Constitution, with 24 voting for the Bill and 36 voting against. These two days enabled a variety of Radford and other students from across the territory to engage in debate, study our national constitution and steered us in a direction that inspires change and leadership. It was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend it to any and all students who are eligible to attend. 

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