Well, I am back.
In case you didn’t notice, I’ve been away for a week. Miss me?
I have just spent a fantastic week in Canberra, the Australian National Capital, as I was part of the 2009 Rotary Adventure In Citizenship programme. Rotary funds year 11 students from all over Australia to travel to Canberra for a week and learn about being an active citizen of Australia. You could describe it as a leadership course, which particularly focused on Parliament House and the cultural icons of Australia. It was fantastic!
A quick summary of the whole week- we did many role-plays of our political system (including Question Time and a mock Federal Election), toured the War Memorial, Australian Institute of Sport, the embassy area, the US Embassy, Duntroon (the royal military college), Old Parliament House and Questacon (a kids’ science centre). We met Members of Parliament, Senators, scientists, a navy veteran of 17 years and some renowned journalists. We saw Question Time, and parliamentary proceedings. Four of the delegates (including my roommate) met the Prime Minister. As you can imagine, it was a very hectic week. What did I learn? I realized just how transparent the Australian political system is- we are privileged to live in Australia. I gained a new respect for politicians. They work very family-hostile hours, it’s very lonely if things don’t go your way, and in reality, 90% they do vote the same, instead of the constant bickering and negativism that you see on the news.
I also made very interesting social observations as I mingled with 30 teenagers from all over Australia with me being the only homeschooler. I’ll be sure to share my observations with you all!