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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2021) . . Page.. 2070 ..

Teachers across Canberra teach civics and citizenship through the Australian Curriculum. For young students, this could be working with students to understand the role of the rules in their community and the importance of making decisions democratically. In the higher school years, students could be evaluating Australia’s political and justice systems and analysing what it means to be an active and informed citizen in different contexts.

Canberra is an ideal place for students to learn about civics and citizenship and to see Australian democracy and their role in this system. Institutions such as the Australian Parliament House, Government House, the High Court of Australia, the Museum of Australian Democracy and, of course, Elections ACT and the ACT Legislative Assembly all offer programs for schools.

Earlier today, along with other members in this place, I attended the Parliament of Youth on Sustainability, which gives students from kindergarten to year 12 an opportunity to participate in a mock parliament, grapple with complex environmental issues and collaborate on ideas for change. We all listened very carefully to their ideas, and I have already offered to work with some of them on their initiatives.

Tomorrow I will be opening the 2021 ACT Youth Assembly, which provides a platform for young Canberrans to engage in a dialogue with the ACT government and to share ideas on how to advance the broad agenda for youth issues. These kinds of activities ignite curiosity and passion in young people and make a significant contribution to our community. This government has a very proud history of achievement in supporting student participation in democracy, and this motion is a further indication of that commitment.

Now, it comes to the part where I have to put my mother’s voice on and clarify for the Assembly that students have never needed to seek permission from me or the Education Directorate to participate in protests. Of course, students need to have permission from their parent or carer to be absent from school or to participate in an offsite excursion. It is really important that we are clear on that because schools need to know where children and young people are in order to keep them safe.

I am very happy to support students and young people from participating in organised action. As I said, who would I be if I did not do that? But please make sure that the appropriate permissions are in place so we can ensure that young people are kept safe.

MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (4.18): I thank Mr Davis for bringing forward this motion to the Assembly. As citizens of a strong democracy in Australia, protest is an essential part of our civic participation. I remember my first protest against the cuts to the education sector during the Howard years. We want to ensure that our youth can embrace and learn from this valuable tool for democratic participation. I support strengthening civics education to not only give our youth an understanding of their rights but to provide a platform for our youth to exercise those rights.

An education that both encourages students to exercise their right to protest and educates them on their rights as Australians is a civics education our youth need. A

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