08 February, 2023

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (15:52): It is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak about community education, more specifically I would like to highlight a fantastic initiative by this parliament to support community education about our important democratic system.

Today, I want to give a big shout-out to acknowledge our Community Education Office right here in Parliament House. Natalie and Edgar are doing such amazing work providing resources, designing education programs and hosting special events to help members of parliament to engage with students and members of the public about how our parliamentary system works and how decisions made in this place impact on the lives of everyday South Australians.

I was delighted to learn that in 2022, the Community Education Office reached almost 13,500 people across South Australia. These numbers include 8,218 students; 1,006 teachers; 833 adult learners, including TAFE English programs; and 3,424 members of the general public who were engaged through public tours, tours with MPs and the Parliament House open day. Many staff were also educated and received training.

I want to acknowledge the Community Education Office for focusing on important areas to drive its engagement with students and community members. In 2022, the Community Education Office hosted a range of special events, including the inaugural National Schools Civics and Citizenship Convention for years 9 and 10 students, an event for student ambassadors to learn about what it means to advocate for others, and a trial program about student voice and participation.

It is also wonderful to know that regional areas have been included. Thank you, Natalie and Edgar, for getting out to visit Mount Gambier and the South-East, the Mid North, Port Lincoln and other regional areas throughout 2022 to successfully deliver regional education programs in schools. Using large floor mats that replicate the two houses, students get a feel of being inside the chambers of parliament. The interactive programs help students pass bills and learn about making amendments in the Legislative Council.

I understand that free video link incursions have also been trialled to help reach more regional schools, with Natalie and Edgar running mock debate programs with students via video link. This is an exciting program, which is now up and running for all schools outside of public transport access to the CBD, that will greatly increase accessibility to these great education programs. The Community Education Office also provides specialised training and professional learning opportunities for primary, secondary and university teachers, covering curriculum and civics skills suitable for each age group.

As the shadow minister for multicultural South Australia and the longest serving member of parliament in multicultural affairs, I am particularly happy to learn that the SA parliament's Community Education Office has now made education resources available in nine languages to support our diverse community to learn about parliament.

The introductory fact sheet includes information about the three levels of government in Australia, the separation of powers, the make-up and functions of South Australia's parliament, the differences between federal and state parliament, and how constituents can get involved in our democratic processes. The translated fact sheets are currently available in Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Pashto, Punjabi, Tagalog/Filipino and Vietnamese, with Pitjantjatjara soon to be finalised as well, which will be a great addition.

As we live in a multicultural and multilingual society, it is important that linguistically diverse residents and citizens are able to access information in their own language. These tools are very useful for many new migrants and refugees who are unfamiliar with our democratic processes and the parliamentary system.

Since I was elected to the Legislative Council in 2010, I have been honoured to host over 80 tours of Parliament House with many multicultural organisations throughout the state. It is always a great honour and joy to host these Parliament House tours. I want to thank Natalie and Edgar in the Community Education Office of Parliament House for all the wonderful work they do to support the work that we do.