On Monday 5 September, students from Leigh Creek Area School visited South Australia’s Parliament House for the first time. The six hour journey made over approximately 500kms was part of a rare opportunity for the 16 students from ages 9-14 years to learn about democracy and state government inside the place where it all happens.

The tour and learning program included access to the House of Assembly and Legislative Council chambers as well as the Parliamentary Library. It included a mock election, separation of powers activity, and role play in the House of Assembly that required three young people to step into the seats and associated regalia of the Speaker of the House, the Clerk and the Serjeant at Arms.

The Hon. Geoff Brock MP, Minister for Regional Development, made time to come and meet with the students offering them his personal insights into what it means to represent the people of Leigh Creek who he emphasised include its youngest citizens. Minister Brock encouraged the students to ask questions of him, with one young person finding the courage to ask him when they might get their new public swimming pool. He assured them it was on his agenda.

Students took up various positions in the front and back benches on both sides of the House, with a few sitting in the cross benches for full authenticity. (See the Gallery below)

Below is some of the feedback students provided about their experience:

“I recommend doing a debate and visiting the library.”

“It’s a good experience because you can dress up and see the old books.”

“I liked going to the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council.”

“My favourite part was having the debate in the House of Assembly. The library tour was my second favourite.”

“My favourite part was seeing the artifacts on the library tour.”

“I enjoyed walking through all the different areas of Parliament House.”

“I enjoyed exploring the different parts of Parliament House and doing the debate in the House of Assembly.”

Leigh Creek Area School is the first of five schools selected as recipients of the Commissioner’s Civics in the City Grant Program being undertaken in partnership with Parliament House. Other grant recipients who travelled to Adelaide’s CBD and visited SA Parliament in 2022 included Carlton School from Port Augusta, Ernabella Anangu School from the Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, Renmark Primary School and St Joseph’s, Peterborough.

Students design their own Civics tour based on their interests. In addition to visiting Parliament House they can choose to visit Government House, The Centre of Democracy, Migration Museum and/or the State Library, to name a few. The grants are aimed at schools who typically cannot afford to offer their students excursions to Parliament House due to the long distances involved, and the need to find suitable accommodation while in Adelaide.

The excursion to Parliament House is designed to empower students through a deeper understanding of how they as individual citizens can play an active role in shaping their own communities. The day’s program provides an introduction to how state, local, and federal tiers of government intersect, as well as how South Australia’s parliamentary traditions and processes work.

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 Image Gallery Above:  Students from Leigh Creek School visiting Parliament House (September 2022)

For more information go to the Civics in the City Grant Program