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Kilah Gaston among delegates attending the 28th National Schools Constitutional Convention in Canberra

23 March 2023 | Posted in Learning and Teaching

Kilah Gaston among delegates attending the 28th National Schools Constitutional Convention in Canberra

Candi Dempster

By Candi Dempster


Ryan Catholic College, Kirwan

This week, Year 12 Ryan Catholic College student joined 115 other senior students from around Australia to attend the 28th National Schools Constitutional Convention (NSCC) at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, Canberra. The program, funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, aims to provide students with a better understanding of Australia's democratic framework and encourage them to take an active interest in the operation of government.

The 2023 Convention's theme is "Constitutional Reform - Is section 128 still a necessary requirement to change such an important document as the Australian Constitution?," and the program includes hearing from experts, debating the main issues relating to the topic, and a mock referendum conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission.

The program also features meetings with the Governor-General, The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) at Government House, a dinner at the High Court of Australia, and the Prime Minister's Welcome Reception at Parliament House.

Kilah was chosen as a national delegate from hundreds of students from government, independent, and Catholic schools who participated in feeder conventions in their home state or territory.

Kilah said she was ecstatic to be selected from so many applicants and proud to be a role model for other Indigenous youth.

“This experience has opened my eyes to so many diverse opinions around the one topic of having an Indigenous voice in parliament. It has been an insightful and enjoyable experience and has made me realise that the voice of youth in Australia are the most important ones,” said Ms Gaston.

Ryan Catholic College Principal, Candi Dempster said students are given access to learning opportunities such as this, in the curriculum.

“There are lots of communication channels and opportunities for students to access these types of activities when they arise.

“Staff are very proactive in allowing students to be social thinkers and collaborative in classrooms to give them experience to think critically and collaboratively”.

The decisions made at the Convention will be incorporated into a report, which will be sent to the President of the Senate, Senator Sue Lines, and tabled in Parliament.

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