Budding legal eagles take on mock debate
A GROUP of North Queensland students could be well on the way to challenging the halls of power after examining the finer points of constitutional law.
They were chosen to take part in the 2011 Schools Constitutional Convention, an annual event where four students from nine local schools show their debating skills in a mock parliament.
Event organiser and Kirwan High School legal studies teacher Kelly Markham said one student from each team presented a four-minute speech on whether ‘‘ to alter the Australian Constitution to empower the Commonwealth Parliament to directly legislate over river systems.’’
The topic would be of particular interest to North Queensland students because debate is currently raging in Canberra and in legal circles over so-called ‘‘ Wild Rivers’’ legislation which regulates the use of land in Cape York.
‘‘ This is about students debating aspects of law and they are usually students who will go on to study law,’’ Ms Markham said.
‘‘ The students are in Year 11 and 12 and they are very well prepared.
‘‘ They prepare it all in their own time, during their lunch hours from the first week of term.’’
Ms Markham said the keynote speakers included Federal MP Ewen Jones, QUT senior lecturer Dr Deborah Henderson, lecturer Rachel Bradshaw and Townsville Water director Ken Diehm.
‘‘ The guest speakers engaged the audience with their convincing perspectives and knowledge surrounding federalism,’’ Ms Markham said.
At the end of the convention, students voted on a representative for the national event.
The overall winner was Mangubadijarri Yanner from St Teresa’s College, Abergowrie and runner-up was Ruth Jale from St Patrick’s College, Townsville.