Laura, 2016 Graduate
My three-month placement was with the House of Representatives committee office, in a small secretariat supporting two parliamentary committees. I joined the team just as a new Parliament sat for the first time, so it was fast–paced and I learned a lot about parliamentary procedure.
My team were incredibly supportive and helped me grasp this placement as an opportunity to develop as a public servant. I was able to engage in the work of the Parliament, from committee meetings through to chamber proceedings, and take part in training across the parliamentary departments. My team also gave me the freedom to develop and trial some new approaches to regular committee business, which was a rewarding experience.
My major task was to prepare a significant report for one of the committees, largely independently, which was tabled in the Parliament and published online. During my placement, I was also involved in briefing the Committee for meetings and hearings, providing advice about topical issues, developing media strategies and drafting releases, as well as engaging with witnesses and submitters providing evidence to the committee.
I was keen to take part in the Parliament of Australia graduate program to get a better top-down understanding of the way the Parliament interacts with the public service. I really valued the exposure the placement gave me to the moving parts of Australian democracy in action. I am going to bring an entirely new perspective when I return to work at my home department.
The biggest surprise for me was how much the physical environment shapes and influences the culture of Parliament House. The building is an incredible piece of art, architecture and democratic symbolism. It sets a tone of respect that ripples through every day and every activity.
I found the most valuable part of the graduate program was the platform it gave me to connect with so many unbelievably talented, highly skilled, professional (and just generally wonderful!) people. I met mentors and role models, and I made friends I will keep for years to come.
I would highly recommend this program in a heartbeat. It’s an amazing opportunity and such a privilege.