Interns embark on rare journey

14 March 2023

Watch some of the remarks made by speakers at the semester one internship induction day.

Twenty-four university students have learned first-hand how to succeed as a parliamentary intern.

The first semester cohort heard from 2022 Presiding Officers’ Prize winner Lachlan Watson during their induction day at Parliament House.

‘I can’t emphasise this enough: start writing early.’

Lachie Watson, 2022 intern

Lachie offered valuable advice on conducting interviews, research methods and structuring the 6000-word final report. 

‘Don’t treat this just like a typical unit, make the most of it because it really is an extraordinary opportunity,’ he said.

Every year since 1990 undergraduate students have tackled a range of topics on issues including transport, education, mental health, family violence, land tax, parliamentary procedure and regional infrastructure.

Legislative Assembly Speaker Maree Edwards launched the 34th year of the Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program.

‘As well as being of great value to the hosting Member of Parliament, some of those reports have also helped guide public policy and have led to changes in legislation,’ Speaker Maree Edwards said.

‘I can add my hearty endorsement to the benefits of hosting a parliamentary intern. I’ve personally supervised four interns and through their reports, have gained valuable insights into a number of issues, particularly in my electorate of Bendigo West.’

Evelyn MP Bridget Vallence presented on the benefits and challenges of being a parliamentarian.

Evelyn MP Bridget Vallence spoke about what it means to represent the community as a parliamentarian and the work involved in developing legislation. 

‘As challenging as this job is, as tough as this job is, it’s very rewarding. To be able to be that voice for your community is something that I hold very dear,’ she said.

Brunswick MP Tim Read offered his insights into the role minor parties play in the passage of legislation.

‘The smaller the party, the greater the responsibility for everybody to be across what’s going on,’ he said.

Parliamentary press gallery journalists Benita Kolovos (The Guardian) and Richard Willingham (ABC) took part in a question-and-answer session.

Emeritus Professor James Walter has acted as academic supervisor for previous Monash University interns.

‘It’s a really valuable way of actually finding out what politics is like from the inside, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy it,’ he said.

The interns were also briefed by senior parliamentary staff including the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Clerk of the Legislative Council and Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services.

There are 24 interns in the first semester of 2023, 13 from the University of Melbourne and 11 from Monash University.

In addition to their 6000-word research report, the interns will attend several other half-day seminars at Parliament House throughout the semester.

Monash University’s Dr Ben Wellings and University of Melbourne’s Ali Reza Yunespour have been appointed academic coordinators of their respective student cohorts.