Annabelle Clements: 29th National Schools Constitutional Convention | Event Wrap & Photo Gallery

The 29th National Schools Constitutional Convention (NSCC) took place at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Canberra’s Old Parliament House between 19-21 March, near the end of Term One.

And one of Canterbury’s senior students – Annabelle Clements, joined 94 fellow students from right across Australia, who travelled to the ACT to participate in this three-day convention.

“Throughout my trip I got to meet a lot of different teenagers from different states, which was one of my favourite parts… as it was definitely cool to make connections and meet people with all different opinions and issues in their home/local areas,” said Annabelle.

“We also did a ‘soapbox’ in Old Parliament House, which I loved.”

A ‘soapbox’ is any raised platform on which one stands to make an impromptu speech, often about a political subject.

The term originates from the days when speakers would elevate themselves by standing on a wooden crate originally used for the shipment of soap, or other dry goods, from a manufacturer to a retail store.

Throughout this event, the student group learnt about and debated the topic of giving more Federal tax funds to the States and Territories to manage, which Annabelle was strongly opposed to.

“I got up and spoke in the soapbox session on my very opinionated stance on this issue, and despite me disagreeing with most people’s opinions, it was still fun to just argue and debate it out.”

Under the guidance of Emeritus Professor Clement Macintyre and Professor John Williams, delegates engaged in discussions and debates over this year’s proposal: “Should Section 96 be amended to decentralise the power of the Commonwealth?”

After an insightful discussion with a panel of experts, Annabelle and her fellow delegates deliberated the proposal, concluding in a mock referendum vote.

The majority voted NO to the proposal, a decision that the convention’s Communiqué publication has documented, that will be presented to the Australian Senate for inclusion in Hansard, which is the official record of parliamentary debates.

The program also featured the Prime Minister’s Welcome Reception, and another highlight was getting to meet the Governor-General and his wife at their home for afternoon tea, plus dinner at the National Press Club of Australia.

The three-day learning experience, fully funded by the Australian Department of Education, covered all expenses – from flights and accommodation to catering.

It was a wonderful opportunity for Annabelle to represent Canterbury, rubbing shoulders with students from around the country and with some significant people in our political system.

“All round it was interesting to meet possible Australian up-and-coming politicians and discuss Australia’s issues from a youth perspective,” Annabelle said.

“I found that a lot of our ideas were similar to older politicians as well, so despite an age gap, some of our ideas remained the same.”

The full photo gallery can be found on our Facebook Page HERE.