03 December 2019Share
On 25 November, students from ACU and four other Melbourne universities graduated from the 2019 Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program.
The program, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2020, has hosted over 1,200 interns since its inception - including current Premier Daniel Andrews - and provides students with a unique opportunity to contribute to the development of public policy and to observe the political process up close.
This was the first time ACU students have participated in the program. During the internship, students are placed with an MP and spend time compiling a research report exploring a topic developed in consultation with their MP and an academic supervisor. The internship runs across the full semester and is equivalent to 20-credit points.
Presiding officers for the program, Legislative Assembly Speaker Colin Brooks and Legislative Council President Shaun Leane, presented the interns with their graduation certificates during a ceremony held in Queens Hall, Parliament House.
This semester, six ACU students – Georgia Bishop, Thomas Boucher-Hill, Joshua Crawley, Emma Gillingham, Esther Lee-Scott, and Robert Mulderry – participated in the program along with six students from La Trobe and six from Swinburne. Other, long-standing, participating universities are the University of Melbourne and Monash University.
The Presiding Officers’ Prize for most outstanding intern report by an ACU student in 2019 was awarded to Georgia Bishop for her report titled, 'Extending Stage 1 of the Suburban Rail Loop to Doncaster', prepared for Rod Barton MLC (Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region). Georgia has since been offered ongoing employment at Rod Barton's electoral office.
Special commendation was also awarded to Robert Mulderry for his report titled, 'A Community Services Hub in Hampton Park', prepared for Gary Maas MP (Member for Narre Warren South).
ACU interns indicated that the program was a defining experience in their university careers, and something that they have benefited from immensely. Many of the interns will complete their study at ACU in 2019, with several already admitted into masters programs at Group of Eight universities.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Arts and Academic Culture, Professor Michael Ondaatje, praised the students for the quality of their engagement with the Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program, and commended the program itself.
"This is an excellent new opportunity for students in the School of Arts in the important discipline of politics," he said.
"The work undertaken by some of the students is already feeding into public policy discussions in Victoria, and new academic and professional opportunities for the students have recently emerged. The Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program is a first-class program that is widely recognised for providing an excellent launching pad for careers in a diverse range of areas. It is a privilege to be part of it."
The program will run again in Semester 2, 2020, and be open to high-achieving, advanced ACU undergraduate students who demonstrate a strong interest in politics and public policy.