St Joseph?s College year 12 student Tara Francis flies to Canberra today to take part in a National Schools Constitutional Conv
St Joseph?s College year 12 student Tara Francis flies to Canberra today to take part in a National Schools Constitutional Conv

Tara heading for political heartland



ST JOSEPH's College, Banora Point, student Tara Francis is looking forward to her trip to Canberra this morning as one of 116 senior high-school students from around Australia taking part in a three-day National Schools Constitutional Convention at the old Parliament House.

"I'm excited and can't wait," said the year-12 student, who was selected from 5000 public and private-school students around Australia after taking part in statewide feeder conventions last year.

Tara, who is considering a career in political science or law, said students would debate a range of constitutional issues, with the main topic exploring if there should be three or four-year parliamentary terms.

The students, to be guided in their deliberations by experts in constitutional law, will also participate in a mock referendum where decisions taken are to be incorporated into a communique to be presented to the deputy president of the Senate, tabled and recorded in Hansard.

The students will also visit the High Court and attend Question Time in the new Parliament House as well as attending a reception where they will meet MPs and Senators.

Tara said she was looking forward to the main forum where students "can get up on their soap box and rant" about issues close to their heart.

The last official Constitutional Convention in the late 1990s addressed the controversial issue of what model would be good for Australia in any new proposed republic.

- LUIS FELIU



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