Nation’s leaders welcome local leaders in Canberra

Canberra was buzzing for the opening of the 45th Federal Parliament last week and this year’s Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program participants were lucky enough to find themselves part of the buzz. The theme of their five-day Study Tour, which marks the mid-way point of their year-long leadership program, was ‘National Leadership’. The 26 participants had an exhilarating and inspiring time meeting with leaders at all levels, from grassroots community campaigners to high level strategic advocates, to Federal Parliamentarians. “This trip enabled me to better understand how politics works and therefore, how to work within the political framework to deliver outcomes within my community” said participant Tim Hoogwerf from Bendigo.

The group toured the Australian War Memorial, Old Parliament House, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the National Arboretum. A highlight for many was afternoon tea at Government House, with an address on leadership by the Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.

At Parliament House participants attended a rowdy Question Time, met with Independent and Greens Senators, and had dinner with their local member. Andrew Broad, Member for Mallee chaired a National Party panel with lively discussions on the dairy industry, marriage equality, climate change and rural and regional youth issues.

The whirlwind schedule also included briefings with Indigenous leaders, the Murray Darling Basin Authority, Ethnic Council members and the United States Embassy, as well as powerful lobby and advocacy groups such as the ACT Council of Social Services, Australian Medical Association, National Farmers Federation and the Regional Australia Institute. The role of traditional and electronic media in politics was the theme of a dinner at the National Press Club.

Written by, 2016 Participant Lisa Cox