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Constitutional Convention

2/03/2014
​Emily Richter at the Constitutional Convention

On Monday the 10th, four students, Rachael, Joan, Renee and Emily Richter attended the annual Constitutional Convention.

The Constitutional Convention is a National competition for senior students who study Modern History and/ or Legal studies. Schools in regions across Australia compete to send one student to the National Convention in Canberra. The competition is based on each school’s representative making a speech on a given constitutional issue. The speeches are voted on by the students representing each school and the selected winner represents their region in Canberra.  Emily was our nominated speaker; she had to speak on whether Australia should adopt a bill of rights or not.

We were the first to arrive at the University of Southern Queensland. Eight schools from the Darling Downs region, most of them being from Toowoomba gathered in a lecture room. We started with acknowledgement of country and an official opening from Member of Parliament for Toowoomba North, Trevor Watts. Senior Law Lecturer Pauline Collins gave us a seminar on the history and development of our rights. We then broke up into groups and discussed with the other schools on what we think should be included in a possible Bill of Rights. After morning tea Federal Senator Clair Moore from Queensland talked to us about her perspective on whether she believes we need a Bill of Rights  as well as  discussing changing the Constitution with regard to a Bill of Rights and the challenges of doing so including the implications of current approaches.

From the schools attending the Constitutional Convention one student was elected speaker from each school. The speakers were drawn and Emily was lucky enough to be chosen first, she spoke extremely well, she was confident and knew what she was talking about. Her arguments and ideas were valid and persuasive; she was a great role model for Tara Shire State College. Each school presented great arguments even though some were a bit over the top. However every elected representative student speaker did a great job. The winner was announced after lunch and this year it was a student from  Lockyer District State High School, Jason Weatherby.

The whole experience was great and for our participation in the event we were given a certificate. All students who had attended the Constitutional Convention also received a gift bag from the Australian Electoral Commission, which ran the student representative election.