Leadership Great South Coast 2017 participants had an amazing opportunity to visit the home of Victoria’s democratic institutions.
The group made their way back up Spring Street and entered Parliament House, once inside the opulent and historic building Leadership Great South Coast Participants were met by Simon and Andres, who gave them a whirlwind Tour of the building, pointing out numerous interesting features along the way. It was excellent timing on Simon’s behalf which saw the group ushered into the Legislative Assembly in time to see the ceremonial aspects of the opening of the day’s business.
It was a lively, volatile and somewhat rancorous Question Time which followed later in the day, as the Opposition sought the greatest political advantage out of a breaking media story earlier which saw certain members of the Government accused of improper conduct. Numerous members of the group questioned the value of such aggressive theatrics, and pondered if it was good for the future of democracy as a whole, and set a good example for future generations.
Questions such as this were somewhat tempered by the speakers we had the honour engage with throughout the day, and included valuable sessions with Richard Willis, Usher of the Black Rod, Bruce Atkinson, the President of the Legislative Council, and Colin Brooks, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. A discussion with Tanya Waterson, Chief of Staff to MP James Purcell was also very valuable and gave the Participants an insight into the behind the scenes workings of a small political party which held the balance of power.
The Participants were very fortunate to also take place in a networking lunch, and had the honour to meet and lobby various Members of Parliament from a variety of parties, including Roma Brittnell, Geoff Howard, James Purcell, Richard Reardon, Steph Ryan, and Josh Morris. This opportunity to discuss real issues with these politicians and gain some exposure to that sometimes mystifying world will be of great value to the group as they go on to develop their careers and connections.