Schools in our district were offered an online Q and A session with Roma Britnell, MP through the Education facility of the Parliament of Victoria. A session had been booked with the year 8 ICT class. As the original date was in the first weeks of Remote Learning round 2, it was changed to Monday 7th September. This meant that it was just a few days after parliament sat to debate extending the State of Emergency powers to 6 months and was the day after the road maps were announced for Metropolitan and Regional Victoria.
Initially students found it difficult to think of questions to ask. Many were nervous to even ask questions using the microphone. However, due to the media coverage of the past few days, the topics of conversation centred around COVID-19. Roma is not only our Member of Parliament but is also a nurse, a mother and a dairy farmer. It was interesting to hear her say that she would regularly corona virus test the dairy herd. Once the students relaxed and understood that she was genuinely interested in their voice, the questions started to come through quickly and robust discussions took place. Students even stayed online during their lunch hour to continue the interactions. Following are some of the questions that were asked of her:-
- How is covid going and will there be a vaccination anytime soon?
- Why are there so many arguments in Parliament?
- Will the restrictions ease and what was it like at the meeting when you voted to extend the State of Emergency by 6 months.
- Were you in parliament when the vote was taken to extend the State of Emergency. How did it feel?
- What made you go into politics?
- As a former nurse, what do you think is more important, the health and wellbeing of Victorians, or the economy? Or is there a way of balancing them, given the more people die, and the worst it is for the economy?
- are you handling covid , wearing the mask and do u hope that it will die down soon
- What are your thoughts on the Premier, Daniel Andrews recent announcement about the road maps
- Would the n95 mask be better than the disposable version
- Do you think that an average of 5 cases across the whole of regional Victoria is achievable over a 2 week period?
- As a Victorian what how do you feel about the extension of the state of emergency?
- What is your view on the hotel quarantine, who fault do you believe it was?
- In parliament who many people could be inside and is it mandatory to wear a mask inside
- How do you feel about the football finals being held in Queensland and them getting special treatment and a better hotel than the hotel quarantine.
- Do you think that the football shouldn’t be on due to the virus?
- Why did you chose to be a member of parliament?
A sincere thank you to Ms Roma Britnell for giving up her time and speaking with our students, showing them the human face of a politician, answering their questions not only from a politician’s point of view but from that of a Victorian citizen and speaking to them in a very relaxed and informal manner.
To show how popular this session was, one of the student’s sister’s who is a year 10 student, asked whether they could do something similar.
Webex was used to connect us. Using webconferencing that enables a chat feature gives every student a voice and Roma watch the chat to look for and answer further questions.