Swinburne joins Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program

Thursday 9 March 2017

Damon Alexander with Swinburne students in parliament

The program gives students a chance to experience politics up close

In summary

  • The Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program is open to Swinburne students in 2017
  • The program has hosted over 1,000 interns from Victorian universities in the past 26 years
  • The first round of Swinburne students joined and graduated from the program in 2016

Giving students the chance to work closely with members of parliament, a prestigious internship program is welcoming Swinburne students in 2017.

Running for 26 years, the Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program tasks university students from across Victoria with compiling a research report on a topic established in consultation with their Member of Parliament (MP).

 “It gives students a firsthand look at our political process,” Dr Damon Alexander, Lecturer in Politics and Public Policy at Swinburne says.

“It shows them how parliament works and how policy is shaped. It also gives students a closer look at the complex challenges our MPs and their staffers face, and they get a good understanding of what to expect if they were to continue on this path.”

The student experience

Sarah Haynes who recently completed a Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Relations) and is now undertaking a Master of Arts (Research), joined the program as part of Swinburne’s first intake, as she knew what a rare opportunity it provided.

“Rarely as a politics student do we have the opportunity to experience our field first hand, to engage with the process that we read and write about,” Ms Haynes says.

 Parliament interns on the steps of Parliament

She found each day to be a new experience and that to get the most out of the program, she had to rely on her own initiative. 

“The program was amazing in that it really did rely on how much you chose to engage in it. I spent a lot of time at Parliament House using the incredible resources that became available to us throughout the duration. As well as this I spent a lot of time with my Member of Parliament, who was incredible in organising contacts for my research.

“I was incredibly lucky to have a cohort of interns that were so dedicated and intelligent, we shared and challenged ideas, which in itself was an incredibly empowering experience”

A prestigious history

The Victorian Parliamentary internship program has hosted over 1,000 interns as an accredited semester unit of study from their university and welcomed Swinburne to the program for the first time in 2016.

Members of Parliament have drawn upon internship reports during their Parliamentary debates and members statements.

An impressive array of internship graduates have established careers as Members of Parliament, committee staff, Clerks of the Parliament, newspaper editors, journalists, and Parliamentary officers. 

Applications for Swinburne’s next round of the Victorian Parliamentary Internship Program close Friday March 24 at 5pm. 

For further information please contact the program convenor Dr Damon Alexander