GREG'S LEGACY

Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Mirabella tables civics and electoral education report

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Sophie Mirabella MP, Federal Member for Indi and Chair of the Federal Parliament’s Electoral Matters Committee tabled the Committee’s Civics and Electoral Education Report in the House of Representatives today.

“The report highlights significant opportunities to better engage key sections of the population in electoral matters and to improve the quality of civics education,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“The report follows successive surveys of young people which have shown that Australians between the ages of 15 and 35 typically have limited knowledge of Australia’s political history and political system, and have little interest in Australian political affairs.”

“A basic understanding of our political and voting systems is fundamental to a vibrant participatory democracy,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“The Committee believes its recommendations will lead to better informed citizens, who are more engaged in the issues that are important to them.”

Key recommendations include:
• developing a short, focused electoral education unit to be delivered to either Year 9 or 10 students and Year 11 and 12 students, in all secondary schools;
• re-assessing the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate as it affects students from the remotest parts of Australia; and
• improved training and guidelines for polling officials in communicating with Indigenous Australians;
• reviewing the languages which the Australian Electoral Commission currently translates its materials into, taking into account the languages spoken by more recent migrant arrivals to Australia; and
• providing a programme of electoral education in the lead up to federal elections which specifically targets areas of high informal voting including those with a high proportion of voters from non-English speaking backgrounds and those in areas where there are different voting systems in place for State elections.

During the Inquiry, the Committee was grateful and interested to hear from a diverse range of Australians, from school children and teachers to community leaders, academics and practitioners.

Copies of the report are now available by contacting Mrs Mirabella’s office on (02) 6277 2301 or online at: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/em/education/report.htm

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Written by Greg Naylor

18 June 2007 at 5:52 pm

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