Regional Education Outreach at the Parliament of South Australia: Strategies and Learnings

As part of our ongoing ‘spotlight on public engagement practice’ series, this month we highlight initiatives featured in a paper by IPEN member and Community Education Officer Natalie Badcock (formerly Young), published in the Australasian Parliamentary Review.

In the paper, Natalie explores the successes and learnings of the Regional Education Strategy of the Parliament of South Australia, reflecting on how parliamentary education can be made more accessible.

Launched in 2021, the Parliament’s travelling regional education program is targeted at electorates with the lowest school visitation data within a given period. The program includes a focus on the key principles underpinning parliamentary systems in Australia, a demonstration of the passage of the bill and interactive activities relating to how students can participate in ‘active’ citizenship.

Special equipment was procured for the program in an effort to bring the Parliament to life outside of the physical building, including six metre by four metre floor mats of the House of Assembly, Legislative Council and steps of Parliament House. The equipment also included a replica Mace and Black Rod, wigs, robes, ballot boxes, bells and debate scripts.

Civics in the City is a regional and remote financial assistance program launched by Parliament in 2022, whereby five schools were selected to receive money to support travel and accommodation costs to Adelaide, and to visit Parliament House during their city stay.

Natalie’s paper explores the successes and learnings of these two initiatives, and concludes that feedback and interest in them provides strong justification for building and enhancing regional programs.

Regional Education Outreach at the Parliament of South Australia: Strategies and Learnings by Natalie Young (Badcock) was published via open access in the Australasian Parliamentary Review (Spring/Summer 2022 Vol 37 No 2).

IPEN members can also hear Natalie speaking about Australia’s education outreach work in a recording of a Public Engagement Hub seminar which took place in November 2022 (available in IPEN’s MS Teams space). The seminar – Reaching out to remote communities – also included speakers from Serbia and South Africa.

Article published: 23 October 2023