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Parliamentary Research Program

The Parliamentary Research Program is coordinated and administered by the Parliamentary Education Office. It is a cooperative arrangement between the Western Australian Parliament and the state universities through which students research topics nominated by Members of Parliament.

Students assume the role of a research assistant under the guidance of a Member of Parliament. Further guidance and support throughout the program is provided through the University academic supervisor and staff in the Parliamentary Education Office.

Outcomes for students

  • Understand the structure and function of the Western Australian Parliament, the role of its members and the contribution of Parliament to the democratic process.
  • Develop flexible and independent research skills.
  • Make meaningful connections between theory and practice.
  • Clarify career goals.

Outcomes for Parliament

  • Production of specific research reports covering many complex and demanding issues.
  • Increased resources and documentation.
  • Ensures that the Western Australian Parliament is involved in coordinating an ongoing high profile educational strategy.


Each program runs during Semester 2 and is organised to suit the different needs of each university.

Students are drawn from third year or higher and may be majoring in any discipline, including but not limited to, politics, law, journalism, conservation and sustainability.

Typical schedule

  • Members submit topics to the Parliamentary Education Office.
  • Topics sent to universities.
  • Students nominate preferences.
  • Students allocated topics.
  • Members and students advised of allocations.
  • Orientation morning tea (1st - 2nd week of semester) - overview of the program and an opportunity to meet with members.

A selection of previous topics

  • Sustainable water resources for the future.
  • Alternative sanctions to custody.
  • Transport needs in the metropolitan area.
  • Petrol prices in WA.
  • The impact of non-compulsory voting.
  • The role of committees in the Parliamentary process.
  • Government Advertising: Propaganda or Public Service?