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Memento : Issue 18
The Federation 10 The Federation rap In early June, 36 young students from around the nation converged on Canberra for the Rotary Adventure in Citizenship 2001. Since Australia celebrates 100 years as a nation this year, it is no surprise that the theme of this year's adventure was Federation. The students spent the week exploring their nation's capital and discovering the ins and outs of Australian parliamentary democracy. At the Archives they were treated to afternoon tea and a tour of the Federation Gallery, and saw the original 100-year-old documents that created the nation. For a change of pace, we teamed up with David Kilby of 666 ABC Canberra and the Parliamentary Education Office to challenge the students to a Federation quiz. Their first challenge was to present a 1901 song as a 2001 rap, then to draft a list of potential first presidents of Australia in the same order as the judges. The final challenge involved SAO biscuits and chewing with closed mouths -- a long way from debates on reconciliation and meeting Members of Parliament but all part of the adventure! rap memento september 2001 'There was always, and there should always be, something special about the public servant', Canberra Times Editor Jack Waterford said recently on the 100th Anniversary of the Australian Public Service. Public service scores a century! He began by referring to a speech made by NSW Governor Sir John Young at a public service picnic 138 years ago, at a time, Jack noted, 'when the entire public service could probably actually meet at a picnic ground'. Despite the many changes to the public service since then, Jack Waterford concurred with Sir John's view that public servants stand as one of the checks and balances against arbitrary government. He noted that public servants hold special duties that are based on principles of fairness, equity and accountability. 'They are servants of the government of the day but they also serve the parliament, the law and the public', he said. If that public spirit and idealism were lost, the calibre and professionalism of the service would suffer. 'If we take the public out of the public service, just as we are taking service out as well, there may be nothing worth preserving' he concluded. Jack Waterford is one of many celebrity speakers in our 'Where to now, Australia?' series, which celebrates the Centenary of Federation (see next page).