Get involved

Explore ways you can get involved in the work of Parliament with this in-depth video. Find out how you can get informed about the work of the Parliament, contact and vote for members of parliament, petition the Parliament and participate in parliamentary inquiries.

Teachers can use this video with their students as part of an exploration of getting involved in the Australian Parliament. This supports the Year 8 Unit of work.

Duration: 6 min 5 sec





Opening credits showing images of Parliament in action. Title: Snapshots of Parliament – Get Involved

Young people walk to voting screens to fill in a ballot paper. They place completed papers in a ballot box.
Footage of the House of Representatives

Presenter: In a democratic country like Australia, we elect members of parliament to make decisions and laws on our behalf.  We can choose who we think will best represent us.
Members of parliament make speeches in the House of Representatives The Hon Scott Morrison MP: We do not want to see young Australians seeking out welfare as a career choice. We do not want to see a shuttle run from the school gate to the Centrelink front door. And this bill is about changing that culture.

Ms Clare O'Neil MP: And the idea that the key response of this government is to take away any income from those young people for a month, I think it absolutely beggars belief.
Footage of  the House of Representatives, with Mr Ian Goodenough MP in the Speaker's chair Acting Deputy Speaker, Mr Ian Goodenough MP: I put the question that this bill be now read a second time. All of that opinion say aye, to the contrary no; I think the ayes have it.
Footage of election posters and people marching in a protest Presenter:  Australians don't just have a say at election time. We are free at any time to express our opinions and speak up about the actions of our representatives and to ask them to act for us.
Members of  the House of Representatives and senators making speeches Ms Terri Butler MP: I'm having constituents come to my office complaining about the speed of the broadband that they supposedly have in Griffith, within 10 kilometres of the CBD, and every time it rains the internet slows down.

The Hon Melissa Price MP: The drop in house prices means that young people now have a fighting chance to enter the housing market in regional Western Australia.

Ms Cathy McGowan MP: Imagine the fear and distress that faces a young person who lives in a small country town or on a farm, and who is confused about their gender or sexual identity. Young people tell me of the barriers they face in their homes, schools and the wider community.

Senator Malarndirri McCarthy: Allow the people of the Northern Territory to fully make our own decisions, to determine our own future, by engaging in a fair partnership so that we, who have won their lands back—nearly 50 per cent of the land mass—so that young people of the Territory feel they have a solid employment, a future filled with shared prosperity and hope.

Senator Barry O'Sullivan: A case reported to me at Birdsville, the family—the mother, at least and the 4 children—have now had to move into town because they can no longer efficiently access School of the Air. It's gone, the intermittent services they get from the bandwidth prevents the children from being able to complete lessons.

Senator Jacqui Lambie: So today on behalf of Tasmanians, I say enough is enough. Let's take the first step and introduce clearer labelling for all the foods on our supermarket shelves.
Graphic of young person sitting on sofa, watching TV and nodding in agreement Presenter: Even if you are not old enough to vote, you can still have a say about what the Parliament does. Start by getting informed.
Images of Parliament in action, as well as social media logos Presenter: What happens in Parliament is reported in the media. Meetings of Parliament are broadcast live and official records are kept of these meetings. Many members of parliament use social media like Twitter and Facebook to keep in touch with the public.
Footage of a senator speaking in the Senate and a minister speaking in the House of Representatives
Graphic of young person looking at the Parliament of Australia website
Presenter: To get involved, you could contact the members of parliament who represent you. Tell them what you think about an issue or law the Parliament is considering. Or get in touch with the government minister in charge of that area.

Presenter: For example, if the Parliament was making laws about cyber-safety and you wanted to have your say, you could contact the Minister for Communications. Contact details can be found on the Australian Parliament House website.
Graphic of young person looking at the wording of a petition, and the list of names of people who signed the petition Presenter: You can petition the Parliament. A petition is a written request from citizens asking the Parliament to use its powers to act on an issue. For example, it might ask the Parliament to investigate the issue or pass a bill to solve a particular problem. Petitions are usually signed by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people. However, a petition only needs the name and address of one person to be presented to the Parliament.
Footage of petitions being presented to the House of Representatives and the Senate

Ms Rebekha Sharkie: The Kangaroo Island community has asked me to table a petition on their behalf.

Senator Rachel Siewert: I seek leave to table a document. It contains 16 393 signatures, calling for the government to protect the great white shark and opposing culling of the great white shark.

Image of the Parliament of Australia website Presenter: Find out how to present a petition to the Senate or the House of Representatives, by searching under Parliamentary Business on the Australian Parliament House website.
Footage of a parliamentary committee in action
Graphic of young person at a computer typing up a committee submission
Presenter: If a parliamentary committee is investigating something you feel strongly about, you can send them a written statement, called a submission, outlining your views. You might then be asked to appear as a witness before the committee to answer questions.
Footage of a parliamentary committee in action Senator Carol Brown:  What's your view about the reasons for this piece of legislation?

Committee witness: This legislation will not achieve a positive outcome in terms of lifting employment participation.
Footage of parliamentary committees in action Presenter: Committees are made up of 6 to 12 members of parliament. They allow the Parliament to take a more detailed look at issues or proposed laws, and to hear the opinions of the community, experts and other groups. These students are describing their experience of balancing school and part-time work to a parliamentary committee.

School student: I used to be in year 10; I used to work about 8 to 10 hours a week, and now I work more, which is probably not the ideal because I have more work now that I am in year 11.

School student: So Sundays is an extra pay rate, so you can do less hours but work more on Sunday. So I think it's just about time management and how you use your time.
Graphic of young person looking at the Parliament of Australia website Presenter: Find out more about committee hearings at the Getting involved in Parliamentary Committees page on the Australian Parliament House website.
Graphic of young person imagining ways to get involved Presenter:  There are other ways you can express your opinion. You could contribute to on-line forums, participate in youth parliaments, or attend a community meeting or rally to protest about an issue before the Parliament.
Graphic of young person standing up from sofa and walking towards the camera Presenter: To best represent all Australians, members of parliament need to know what Australians think about issues, so it's important to stand up and be heard. And that means getting involved.
Title: Parliamentary Education Office. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2017 .
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