Who should be eligible to sit in our Federal Parliament? That is the issue student delegates from across the country will consider at a National Convention in Canberra later this month.

The students will review the main issues of Section 44, which sets out the conditions under which disqualification as a Member of Parliament may occur. A topical issue given that over the past year, one Australian parliamentarian after another has been declared ineligible from holding office in federal parliament because of dual citizenship.

Warwick Senior High School Year 12 student and Head Girl, Nicola Hames, is one of 120 Year 11 and 12 students selected to participate in the Convention, being held at The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra, from 20 to 22 March.

 The program provides senior students with an opportunity to become better informed about how Australia’s Constitution provides a democratic framework and encourages them to take an active interest in the operation of government.

Nicola said she was excited for the opportunity to represent Western Australia at the National Convention this year. “I really enjoyed the State Constitutional Convention held last September, it was such great experience and the speakers were highly engaging,” she said.

“The most exciting part of attending the National Convention for me is the opportunity to meet like-minded politics and law enthusiasts from across the country.”

Facilitated by John Warhurst, Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University, the students will consider a range of arguments relating to Section 44 of the Constitution and relevance in modern Australia. This will include input from a panel of experts, group discussions on the issues and the opportunity to persuade other delegates of particular approaches.

Students will also participate in a mock referendum to determine the outcome of their deliberations.

The Convention is funded by the Federal Government’s Department of Education and Training as part of its ongoing commitment to civics and citizenship education.

Nicola, who is interested in pursuing a career in the Law, was selected from over 1000 students from government, independent and Catholic schools from across Australia.