Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 18-11-2014 Contents 5 - Tuesday, November 18, 2014
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Democracy is child's play at museum
Twin brothers Jules and David Haddock, 5, talk children's rights with their carer Melanie Kaus at the Museum
of Australian Democracy's Play Up exhibition.
Photo: Matt Bedford
Democratic engagement has been
transformed into a playful experience
in a new exhibition at the Museum of
Museum director Daryl Karp, based
at Old Parliament House, said Play Up
was an interactive space and far more
than a children's wing of the museum.
"Kids are our future voters and
citizens," she said.
"It's really about taking those big
concepts of citizenship and democracy
and making them accessible and fun."
UNICEF Australia chief executive
Norman Gillespie was a special guest
at the launch to mark the 25th
anniversary of the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of a Child.
"Play can be a child right we take
for granted in Australia, but its power
for all children cannot be
underestimated," he said.
"It's an important child right and
one UNICEF Australia is pleased to
see the Museum of Australian
Democracy embracing and
Lifelong learning manager Glenda
Smith said every 12 months the
permanent exhibition would focus on a
distinct human right.
"The next one will be the right to
shelter," she said.
"There will be lots of activities,
cubby houses and messages
The colourful space has activities
tailored for all age groups including
craft areas, blackboard and smart
board walls, a corner for building
mega block cities and a room devoted
Melanie Kaus cares for five-year-
old twins David and Jules Haddock
who were engrossed in all the hands-
"On our first visit we stayed for four
hours which isn't like them to want to
stay in one place for so long" she said.
She said while the two boys were
yet to start school, they had soaked in
some of the ideas about the values that
"Their father works in the public
service at Parliament House," she said.
"The boys are always asking
questions and so we talked in the car
on the way home about their rights and
how the government makes sure those
rights are enforced."
The federal government's austerity
drive claimed the jobs of almost one
in 11 of its staff in Canberra last
The Australian Bureau of
Statistics's latest employment data
shows the Commonwealth workforce
-- which includes the bureaucracy,
other government agencies and the
military -- shrank by 1.7 per cent
In most parts of the country, the
loss of federal jobs was offset by
growth in state or territory
governments or in local councils.
But the ACT, which has no local
councils, lost 7200 federal jobs over
the year as well as 300 territory
employees - a total of 7 per cent of its
public sector workforce.
It was the steepest downturn
recorded in any state or territory
since the bureau began releasing
detailed government employment
data seven years ago.
consultancy Macroeconomics says
the worst is yet to come for ACT
The forecaster's mid-year budget
bulletin, released last week, predicts
the city's unemployment rate will
soar over the next three years, rising
from 3.9 per cent to 6.7 per cent.
The ACT's jobless rate remains
the lowest in Australia but the
forecast would place it on par with
the firm's predicted national average.
Macroeconomics budget director
Stephen Anthony said Canberra's
construction boom was tipped to end
this year, after which the economy
is likely to slow at least until
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