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“Forget the hustle and bustle of Question Time in the Chamber, the best questions about our nation’s future came from these outstanding students” said Member for North Sydney Trent Zimmerman after meeting Wenona’s Year 6 students in Canberra.
As part of the HSIE unit, Australia as a Nation, Year 6 travelled to Canberra to gain further understanding about Australia’s history, culture, heritage and government. They were fortunate to witness a sitting Parliament, and were able to ask Mr Zimmermann questions about democracy and the role of a federal politician.
The girls visited the Australian Electoral Office, the High Court, and Old and New Parliament House, among others. They took themselves on self-guided tours through the Australian War Memorial, describing their experience as “truly moving and beautiful”.
While one student said she now needs to take her mum to the National Gallery (“it was wonderful!”), another preferred Questacon as “a great place to take part in scientific activities and have fun.” The High Court was another favourite: "it's a great place to learn about the law and different cases.”
Dr Briony Scott was impressed when speaking with students in the Senate Gardens that the girls not only understood, but could argue the benefits and drawbacks of a plebiscite. “They could articulate the complexity around the marriage equality debate with courtesy, respect and thoughtfulness,” she said. The bus driver was just as impressed with the group. He said this was one of the best groups he had ever had on board!
Year 6 Teacher and Stage 3 Coordinator Mrs Karen Courter said the girls conducted themselves with distinction and were well mannered when interactive with various presenters. They will consolidate what they learned in Canberra as they break into special interest parliamentary committees in HSIE in Term 4.