Bud­ding legal ea­gles take on mock de­bate

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today -

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.

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