This term, Year 10 History students have been studying a compulsory unit on ‘Rights and Freedoms’ as part of their mandatory History content. This unit coincides with the timing of an Australian referendum which has provided a unique opportunity for students to engage in learning in a more authentic way.
On Friday 8 September, Year 10 students ran a mock referendum at School to demonstrate how the democratic process of a referendum works and allow all Senior School students the opportunity to ‘vote’. Students were allowed to abstain from voting, but were informed this option is unavailable in a real referendum, as all Australian citizens over the age of 18 are required to vote.
The mock referendum used the question from the upcoming referendum giving Senior School students the opportunity to vote Yes or No, accordingly.
“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
Do you approve this proposed alteration?”
Prior to the ‘vote’, Year 10 History students gave a presentation at the Senior School Assembly on what a referendum is, and how it works, and presented the cases for the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ positions. A ‘Democracy Sausage Sizzle’ was held at lunch on ‘voting’ day with the profits donated to the Nungalinya Indigenous Bible College.
Regardless of the outcome, the activity offered a rich learning experience for our Senior School students, allowing them to peaceably voice their opinions and gain experience of the democratic process.