Parliament comes to Winmalee school

When the school can't come to Parliament - the only answer is to bring the Parliament to the school.

With COVID-19 forcing many excursions to Canberra to be cancelled, students at Winmalee Public School set up their own mock parliament in their hall - complete with Serjeant-At-Arms and the Speaker.

Federal MP for Macquarie Susan Templeman attended the school on October 13 to make a presentation to stage three students on the workings of the Australian Parliament. It began with the Serjeant-at-Arms - carrying a mace - escorting the Speaker, Liam, into the chair, and the Clerk beginning proceedings.

A new education Bill introduced by the government passed parliament - the Winmalee Public School parliament after some debate.

"Prime Minister Tillie's government introduced the Bill to move the education system to "remote learning for all", and it was hotly debated by both sides of the House," Ms Templeman said.

"The government argued it was better for the economy and would result in more hospitals due to the demolition of schools, but Leader of the Opposition Ignatius told the House it would be harder for children to make friends and that "parents have had enough of their kids! Why should they have to suffer more through remote learning?".

The visit was one of three organised by Ms Templeman's office this month after children at Blaxland East, Warrimoo and Winmalee missed their annual Canberra excursions. Presentations included a behind-the-scenes talk on how Parliament functions, with photos and videos on the workings of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Feedback was positive among Winmalee 'politicians'. Prime Minister Tillie said she was "thinking of becoming a politician" while the Leader of the Opposition Ignatius said he was pleased with the arguments he put forward.

"I had one argument I was really proud of, and that was about some children who mightn't be able to do remote learning because home isn't safe for them," he said.

Speaker Liam, said he "really liked keeping control of everyone and banging the gavel. I watched a lot of Judge Judy beforehand."

Teachers Emily Matthews, Deborah Greenhill and Diane Caira helped organise the event. Assistant Principal Stage 3 (the other) Christopher Pyne congratulated their efforts.

Ms Templeman said while it was "disappointing students couldn't travel to Canberra and see the beautiful building, it was great to see them learning in a really practical way".

"I was impressed with the knowledge of students at all three schools ... I was asked everything from why I wanted to become an MP, to what happened if a vote was tied, my stance on climate change and LGBTQI issues. I was even asked if could eat in the Chamber, which we're not allowed to do."