I think a trip to Canberra would be good for all Australians. It’s no great secret that sometimes they wonder what we do in this place—and perhaps this morning I’ve even wondered that myself—but all those people who do visit Canberra come away from a visit to Parliament House with a better idea of what we do, why we do it and how we represent people. This is especially so of the School Visit Program.
On Monday of this week I was very pleased to host 11 students from my old school, Kimba Area School, and today I had 17 students from Cleve Area School, which is in the nearest town to Kimba, just down the road. I hope they had an informative time. Certainly in the past students have come up to me and said: ‘Remember when we visited you? I was surprised at how Parliament House worked.’ It’s a good program.
Both schools live approximately 1,200 kilometres from this place. Consequently, they receive $60 assistance from the Commonwealth government to get their students here. It’s been $60 for a while and, if they lived in Adelaide, it would be the same amount of money. Of course, there could be loads of additional costs for people who live in the country. I think it’s probably time we reviewed these subsidies, tried to make it easier for students to come and encouraged more of them to come so they too can participate in this place, learn what it’s about and take a positive view back for the rest of their lives.