National Schools Constitutional Convention to address Section 44

Student James Jackson from Hastings Secondary College.
Student James Jackson from Hastings Secondary College.

WHO should be eligible to sit in our Parliament? That is the issue student delegates will consider at the 23rd National Schools Constitutional Convention in March.

The students will review the main issues of Section 44 which sets out the conditions under which disqualification as a Member of Parliament may occur.

These include bankruptcy, a criminal conviction, allegiance to a foreign power, holding an office of profit under the Crown (or pension), or direct or financial interest in any Commonwealth agreement.

Local student James Jackson from Hastings Secondary College is one of 120 year 11 and 12 students to participate in the 2018 National Schools Constitutional Convention in Canberra.

Student delegates will review the main issues of Section 44 and have their opinions recorded in a Communiqué which will be presented to the Senate and incorporated into Hansard.

As a national delegate, James Jackson was selected from around 1,000 students from government, independent and Catholic schools, many of whom participated in their state or territory Conventions. 

I am honoured I have been given this once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. 

“I look forward to debating current issues regarding the Australian Constitution.”

Emeritus Professor John Warhurst AO from the Australian National University will facilitate the Convention, being held from 20-22 March 2018.

“The Convention is a unique and quite remarkable opportunity for students to explore the Constitution and the political processes surrounding it and to learn more about the intricacies of government,” he said. 

“It is vital to engage Australia’s future leaders in civics and citizenship, encouraging student voices to be raised in the process of learning and networking.

“This year’s topic is an extremely current one encompassing a broad range of complex, and sometimes controversial, issues. I am excited about how the discussions will unfold.”

Students will hear from a panel of experts and will discuss in working groups the five sub- sections of Section 44, before they vote in a mock referendum. The outcome will be incorporated into the Communiqué.


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