National Schools Constitutional Convention

Our Year 12 student, and school captain, Ruby Russell had the amazing opportunity of participating in the 23rd National Schools Constitutional Convention. Ruby was among 120 students from around Australia who travelled to Canberra from 20 to 22 March 2018 to participate in the Convention. 

At the Convention, Emeritus Professor John Warhurst AO led a two-day programme in which students explored ‘Is Section 44 of the Constitution relevant in modern Australia?’  After hearing from a panel of experts and considering the issues in working groups Ruby and other delegates voted in a mock referendum.

The majority of people and majority of states agreed on proposed new section (i):  

Any person who at the commencement of their term in Parliament is under any active acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is an active subject or a citizen or has sought the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power shall be incapable of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

The key proposed amendments to this section (i) were the inclusion of the word ‘active’ in relation to active knowledge and as an active subject, and the wording ‘at the commencement of their term in Parliament’. This outcome was included in the Communiqué which will be presented to the Senate for inclusion in Hansard. A copy of the Communiqué is attached, along with a photograph of all delegates.

Other highlights of the Canberra trip included a reception at Government House, the Prime Minister’s welcome reception at Parliament House and a Convention dinner at the High Court.