Business Educators Australasia
Business Educators Australasia Celebrating Democracy in Queensland
DATE OF FORUM: 28 October 5 PM – 7 PM
Introductory remarks: Federally funded project Discovering Democracy; state government venue; local council speaker.
DD materials on display
Note: Boxed sections in blue added by AFSSSE Project Officer.
Councillor Maureen Hayes provided participants with a number of challenging statements to reflect on whether or not democracy can and should be the result of acting ‘for the people’. She provided a number of examples where politicians consult and listen but may not make a decision based on the views of the majority of the people. Councillor Hayes also provided examples of media influence and the difficulties politicians have in overcoming media stereotyping.
Hon Jo-Anne Miller, MP provided examples from her electorate to demonstrate the complexities involved in making decisions which adhere to democratic principles yet at the same time meet the needs of diverse groups. This address provided information to complement the Discovering Democracy material on the life of a politician and working within and outside parliament.
Notes from participants on three questions:
1. How does the speaker’s address link with our current teaching for responsible citizenship?
2. What values of responsible citizenship might we apply from the address?
3. What are the future possibilities for using the Discovering Democracy materials to explore responsible citizenship?
Emailed message from Joy Schultz subsequent to the Forum:
I know I have delayed this since we had the Celebrating Democracy Week Forum at P'ment House quite a few days ago. I am conscious of the message sent by the two speakers about the lack of understanding about the functions of the three levels of government, and I wonder if some materials could be produced that are based around scenarios. They may be actual cases from the offices of Councillors and MPs, including mistaken approaches which have to be re-directed to the appropriate level. This could be put into or related to a historical context to explain the development of these functions, but I would like to see it being essentially practical. I had a preservice teacher the other day tell me that she had to teach the functions of the three levels and she didn't know and couldn't find anything on the web to help her!
The other thing that concerned me in my past teaching is the lack of understanding and respect for what our legislators do. I used to invite the local state member to come in and describe his day from the first phone calls about the noise of dredging in the river at 5am to the last local Scouts/Guides/p&c, etc meeting that night. The students realised how hard their members worked for their money. But it needs a bit of a philosophical discussion to take place about how to encourage good people to offer to represent us, and the need for good financial rewards for the things that they forego in many cases (like family life). I can remember some materials from the 80s that followed the life of an MP, but that quickly becomes dated as they age and lose seats etc. There needs to be encouragement for students to link at the local level and ask the questions face-to-face, with some guidance about the scope of questions to ask about what they actually do and how that helps the students and their families.
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