Education Zone

Learning from COVID-19

The COVID-19 emergency has presented all of us with challenges, but it also provides some learning experiences for students that can be incorporated into the teaching of Civics and Citizenship and Legal Studies.

In the video presented on this page, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Colin Brooks MP, talks about the role of Parliament to create and scrutinise legislation, and how this process has been adapted to the needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are also suggested discussion questions, links to relevant media articles and pages to help assist understanding of this issue.

This content has been developed to meet the curriculum requirements of VCE Legal Studies, however, it could be adapted for other levels.


In this resource

  1. Media links
  2. Questions asked in the interview
  3. Discussion points
  4. Other resources
  5. Curriculum links
  6. Adaptations for other learning levels



Media links

Shrunken Vic Parliament passes COVID laws
Benita Kolovos, 7 News, 23 April 2020

Victoria's new laws to deal with coronavirus pandemic, including bail changes, trials by judge only
Richard Willingham and Danny Tran, ABC, 21 April 2020

COVID-19 becomes law; government to give itself sweeping new powers
Noel Towell, The Age, 20 April 2020

Parliament expected to pass $24.5 billion relief package
Shannon Deery, Alex White, Kieran Rooney, Tom Minear, Herald Sun, 23 April 2020


Questions asked in the interview

The following questions are addressed in the video above, the italic text in brackets corresponds to the included chapter markers.

  • What is happening at the Parliament amidst the coronavirus pandemic? (Parliament during the pandemic)
  • What is the role of the Parliament during a crisis? (The role of Parliament in a crisis)
  • How is legislation usually created, how long does it usually take and how has that process been adapted in this crisis? (The legislative process)
  • Why did we need to create new legislation during the crisis? (Crisis legislation)
  • What is the Parliament’s usual scrutiny role with bills and how did that change because of COVID-19? (Scrutiny in a crisis)
  • With these changes, how has Parliament managed to maintain the rigor of the parliamentary process and the scrutiny of the Executive on behalf of the public? (Maintaining parliamentary process)
  • What was the atmosphere like when MPs were brought into parliament to legislate on a global pandemic? (Working in parliament)
  • What are some of thing things you as Speaker and/ or the Parliament have learnt in the response to this crisis? (Lessons from the crisis)


Discussion points

  • Briefly describe the main function of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council.
  • What are two of the main roles of parliament mentioned by the Speaker in the video?
  • What is the role of the media? Is the media’s role different during a time of crisis?
  • Discuss the connection between parliament’s role during a crisis and the role of laws in achieving social cohesion and protecting the rights of individuals.
  • Even though all the political parties and independent members agreed to a shortened legislative process, what political pressures might have affected the bill’s passage through parliament?
  • Why was it necessary to introduce new laws in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What do you think about parliament's ability to respond to the need for law reform in this instance?
  • Do you feel that there was enough opportunity for scrutiny during this process? Explain your answer.
  • Describe one role of committees in the parliamentary process.
  • Name two ways individuals can the influence the legislative process and a pro and con of each.
  • Explain the steps parliament took to remain representative while adhering to social distancing measures.
  • What is one lesson you have learnt during this time?


Other resources


Curriculum links

 Unit 1: Guilt and Liability, AOS 1: Legal Foundations, Outcome 1:

  • the role of individuals, laws and the legal system in achieving social cohesion and protecting the rights of individuals
  • characteristics of an effective law, such as it reflects society’s values; is enforceable; is known; is clear and understood; and is stable
  • sources of law such as common law and statute law


 Unit 4: The People and the Law, AOS 1: The people and the Australian Constitution

  • the roles of the Crown and the Houses of Parliament (Victorian and Commonwealth) in law-making
  • the division of constitutional law-making powers of the state and Commonwealth parliaments

Key skills

  • compare the constitutional law-making powers of the state and Commonwealth parliaments, using examples


Unit 4: The People and the Law, AOS 2: The People, the Parliament and the Courts

  • reasons for law reform
  • factors that affect the ability of parliament to make law, including:
  • the roles of the houses of parliament
  • the representative nature of parliament
  • political pressures
  • restrictions on the law-making powers of parliament
  • the role of one parliamentary committee or one Royal Commission, and its ability to influence law reform

Key skills

  • discuss the means by which individuals can influence law reform, using examples


Adaptations for other learning levels

 Levels of Government

The Levels of Government provide an important lesson for students and currently the Division of Powers between the States and Commonwealth Parliament is demonstrated day-by-day in the announcements and decisions made by each level. The formation of the National Cabinet also raises interesting questions about democratic process and scrutiny in times of crisis.

Suggested Activity

One way to explore this is to have students collect media articles which demonstrate the different areas of responsibility for each level and present this information in a creative and informative way.

Relevant Links



The fast-paced political responses necessary in an emergency can leave students feeling baffled and powerless in the wake of change. You can talk to students about why we have representatives who make decisions for us and how they can contact these people. It is important to impress upon students that there are lots of ways to engage with this issue and many others, such as petitions and reaching out to decision makers.

Relevant links


We are currently developing several new programs for online learning, to be available in term two. If you are interested in taking part in one of these programs, including the opportunity for students to participate in online presentations and discussions with people from parliament, please email us at


Welcome to the Victorian Parliament's Auslan page


Auslan Parliament Bulletin

News from the Victorian Parliament presented in Auslan.


July 2020

June 2020

May 2020


Auslan message on COVID-19

Heidi helps us produce our Auslan Parliament Bulletin and wants to share this message in Auslan about COVID-19
and how you can help stop the spread of the coronavirus disease.


February 2020


January 2020


December 2019


November 2019

Our first parliament news bulletin in Auslan was published
in November 2019 and can be viewed below.



Auslan workshops

Two community workshops were held in August 2019 to assist with developing parliamentary vocabulary in Auslan. The workshops were led by members of our Auslan project team, which included young Victorians who participated in the Deafhood team at the 2017 YMCA Youth Parliament of Victoria. 


Auslanworkshop1 web Auslanworkshop2 web Auslanworkshop3 web
Auslanworkshop4 web Auslanworkshop5 web AuslanOct web

The video below was made to promote the community workshops that were held in August 2019.



The idea for this project came from The Deafhood YMCA Youth Parliament team 2017
of which Cate and Sara from the video were both members.

We will be running two workshops for members of the deaf community to participate in the creation of these resources:
10:30am to 12pm, Sunday 25 August and 6pm to 7:30pm, Tuesday 27 August 2019

They will be held at Our Community House, 552 Victoria Street, North Melbourne.
Light refreshments will be provided.



If you have any questions,
please email:






The Parliament Prize

2019 Parliament Prize



Submit a video of a 90-second statement you would make to Parliament if you were an MP. Tell us about the issues you care about affecting your community. 

What is a Member's Statement?

During sitting weeks, Members of Parliament get the opportunity to make statements on matters of interest and concern to them. Often that includes matters arising in their electorates that they wish to bring to the attention of Parliament. The maximum time allowed for such statements is 90 seconds per member. You can see what members speak about during Members’ Statements by looking at Hansard, which is the record of what is said in Parliament.





  • Format is a 90-second video.
  • Entries are to be submitted via the Parliament Prize page on parliament’s website.
  • The entry can be work undertaken to meet your existing subject requirements, or created just for the prize.
  • The closing date is 5.00 pm on Friday 14 August 2020


  • The judges will look for:
  • a sense of passion and clear thinking
  • engaging, creative and coherent expression
  • a persuasive and/or clearly articulated point of view.


A shortlist of entries will be compiled by Parliament’s community engagement and outreach staff. Three separate panels, one for each year category, will judge the entries.


  • A prize of $500 will be awarded to the first-placed entry in each year category. There will also be prizes of $250 to the second-placed entries and $125 to the third-placed entries in each age group.
  • An award of $1,000 will be made to each first-placed student’s school which should ideally be used to promote civics and citizenship and law-related education within those schools, at the schools’ discretion.
  • Winning students and schools will receive a commemorative plaque. The winning entries will be uploaded to the Parliament of Victoria’s website and social media pages, and by submitting an entry, students give permission for this to occur.
  • The winners will be announced and presented with their prizes at a presentation on a date to be advised at Parliament House.


  • The competition is open to Victorian students in three year-group categories: Years 5-6, 7-9 and 10-12.
  • All entries must be the student's original work.
  • Videos must not exceed 90 seconds.
  • Entries must be submitted via the online form.
  • Entries are due by 5pm, Friday 14 August. Late entries will not be considered.


If you have any questions bout the Parliament Prize 2020, please email



Watch the winning entries from 2019



  1. The Competition is operated and managed by the Parliament of Victoria. 
  2. The Competition commences at 10.00am on Monday 15 June 2020 and concludes for judging at close of business on Friday 14 August 2020. No late entries will be accepted. 
  3. Immediate family members of the Parliament of Victoria, staff of members of the Parliament of Victoria and employees of the Parliament of Victoria are ineligible to enter. 
  4. All entrants must have consent from a parent or legal guardian and teacher to enter. By submitting an entry, the student agrees to the terms of the entry form and the competition rules and certifies that: 
     - their parent or legal guardian gives permission for them to enter 
     - their teacher gives permission for them to enter and certifies that the entry submitted by the student named on the form, is the work of that student. 
  5. All entrants will be notified by email that their entry has been received. 
  6. The entry can be work undertaken to meet the student’s existing subject requirements, or created expressly for the prize but must be the students own work. 
  7. The winning entries will be uploaded to the Parliament of Victoria’s website and on social media pages. By submitting an entry, students agree to participate and co-operate as required in the official winners’ presentation and to be interviewed and photographed, with permission granted for use of all promotional materials on the PoV website, social media pages and other promotional activities.  
  8. All entrants are required to provide certain personal information to complete an entry form. This personal information will be used only for the purposes of the competition and within all applicable data protection and privacy laws. 
  9. The winning students and school will be notified and presented with their prizes and plaques at a ceremony at Parliament House on a date to be advised. 
  10. Group entries are allowed; however, all participants must be from the same school and age category. The entry must be submitted under one student’s name. In the event of winning, all individual prize money will be paid to the named entrant with the expectation that it will be split individually amongst the participants. PoV is not responsible for the division of prize money. 
  11. Homeschooled students are permitted to submit an entry; however, in the event of winning they will be awarded individual prize money, but prize money intended for schools will not be awarded.  



The Deakin Oration 2018

The Deakin Oration 2018

Special invitation for senior
high school students and teachers

Tilman Ruff

On 17 August, year 11 and 12 students and their teachers were invited to attend the Deakin Oration 2018 at Parliament House, presented by Nobel Peace Prize winner Tilman Ruff AM.

Dr Ruff was the founding co-chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which started as a grassroots movement in Melbourne and in 2017 won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr Ruff spoke about the group’s efforts in helping to achieve the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Watch on Facebook