Helena College students get lesson in politics from Kalamunda MLA Matthew Hughes

Kalamunda MLA Matthew Hughes answers questions from the class of Year 12 students in Politics and Law  at Helena College. Picture: Chris Jeffrey.
Kalamunda MLA Matthew Hughes answers questions from the class of Year 12 students in Politics and Law at Helena College. Picture: Chris Jeffrey.

KALAMUNDA MLA Matthew Hughes said the first lesson of politics was to be involved in the democratic process from an early age.

The recently-elected Labor politician spoke with year 12 students from Helena College for a question and answer session, in the lead up to their mock exams in Politics and Law.

Teacher Di Parker said the students recently returned from Canberra where they observed question time in Parliament.

“The students got to meet with Bill Shorten and Cory Bernardi, which was very interesting for them,” she said.

Mr Hughes spoke about the importance of people exercising their right to participate in the democratic process rather than being critical of it.

“You have an obligation to help shape the society we’ve got and to be engaged,” he said.

“If you are not happy with a politician’s performance, then vote them out and replace them with someone who is responsive and interested in community engagement.’’

Students asked questions about plastic bag bans, online pornography and shaming.

Mr Hughes said he operated an open door policy, enabling him to see people without appointment if he was in his Kalamunda office.

“I believe if it is sufficiently important for a person to make their way to my office, then I owe it to them to see them and give them my time.”

He said the issues of most concern in his electorate varied from aged care and contaminated sites to phone towers and transport, along with fracking and uranium mining.