Delivering on his election commitment to remain accountable, last Sunday 18 September, Senator David Pocock held the second of his Quarterly Community Town Hall Events at Lanyon High School.
This was a 90-minute, detailed community consultation event, attended by more than 90 people.
Aunty Pat Anderson AO provided an update on the work underway surrounding a referendum on the Voice, Senator Pocock gave a summary of recent and upcoming legislation, answered dozens of questions from the audience, and listened to specific concerns of individual community members.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, similar to feedback received from the first Town Hall event held in July.
One attendee described Senator Pocock as “a breath of fresh air” and another commented that he was “the first parliamentarian I have ever seen down in the Valley apart from leading up to election campaigns.”
Media were not invited to attend given this was a community rather than a promotional event however it was live streamed for transparency and accessibility. A full recording is available here.
During the livestream a current Member of the Legislative Assembly and a political party organiser questioned Senator Pocock using a public school as the venue for the event and objected to signage saying it breached ACT Government protocols relating to events at schools.
The office’s understanding is that the protocols do not apply in this instance, as the event was held outside of school hours and for the purposes of community consultation.
“These protocols only apply to government school meetings/visits, school activities or media/promotional events.”
Senator Pocock’s office liaised closely with the school in the lead up to the event.
This was not a political rally or promotional event but a simple community consultation, held in good faith for Senator Pocock to update the community on what’s been happening in parliament, as well as to answer the community’s questions.
As a new Senator, Senator Pocock is awaiting a range of new materials to support his parliamentary term. This includes new signage at the electorate office, where there has been a delay of four-months in the Department of Finance securing and organising a signwriter.
Old signage from the campaign is being used in the interim simply to alert constituents to things like the location of the office and to direct them to events. Notwithstanding the above, Senator Pocock will not be using the flags further.
Senator Pocock is committed to continuing to deliver these Community Town Hall events, and thanks the Tuggeranong and Lanyon Valley community for showing up and engaging.
As a spokesperson for the Education Directorate noted in the Canberra Times:
"The Education Directorate supports the use of ACT public schools as community facilities when the facilities are not in use by the school," he said.
"The event was unrelated to the operation of the school, it was not held during business hours and there were no school staff or students formally engaged in the event.
"The school hall (and its associated hall equipment) was solely hired as an event space and the school did not endorse - or indeed take any active part - in the event."