Last Monday, 9 October, our VCE Legal Studies class were privileged and honoured to have Mr John Pesutto, the Shadow Attorney General for Victoria and the State member for Hawthorn, visit as a guest speaker.
John spoke to the group about his journey to becoming a proud parliamentarian and discussed his role in parliament.
John’s political journey began when he was fifteen years old, when a federal member of parliament spoke to his class about his life as a politician; this inspired John’s dream to become a representative of parliament. Interested in the world and current affairs, and inspired by politicians of the day, John completed his law degree and worked as legal counsel to the Victorian Premier. He campaigned in four elections before successfully winning a seat in parliament in 2014. John spoke about resilience and how the four ‘losses’ taught him important lessons about life; he strongly encouraged students to follow their dreams and to pursue something they are passionate about.
John spoke about his service to the community and how he is proud to represent the electorate’s views in the area of law and legal issues. We had interesting discussions about important and complex issues in the community such as euthanasia, protests outside abortion clinics, terrorism, and proposed drug clinics.
Students asked very probing questions including:
- “Are there any bills you voted on in parliament that you regret and therefore would now change your vote?”
- “What are your views on the survey on gay marriage?”
- “What beliefs and values do you hold that align with your party?”
- “What plans do you have to support suicide prevention in the Macedon Ranges?”
- “What are your views on Pauline Hanson?”
The class gained great insight on the life of politicians and found this opportunity very interesting and valuable.
Following the visit, some of the students have written reflections:
It was a very intriguing experience as I have very little knowledge of parliament and what knowledge I do have, I have only in my perspective. My view on politicians has completely changed as we got a small glimpse into what goes on behind the closed doors of parliament.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to our guest speaker on Monday. I didn’t expect him to talk for so long and I didn’t expect that I would be engaged for so long either! He was really interesting to listen to and I liked how he brought up debates with us. I did have questions which I intended to say and wrote down but he answered them all when he was talking.
Monday’s class with our guest speaker was great. It was really interesting to hear his story about how he got into politics and his journey to landing the role of Shadow Attorney-General.
John was great to listen to and had some great messages. Overall, he gave a good insight into what it takes to be a politician.
I would say that today’s class was informative, interesting and eventful. He was really interesting and open-minded which was surprising.
Very educational on the inside of state parliament.
I enjoyed hearing about the process he went through to become a Shadow Attorney General, and that even though he was rejected four times, he stayed focused and resilient and kept trying until he achieved his goal.
I liked his openness and the frank way he answered questions; he was a really interesting guy.
Mr Pesutto was a fantastic guest speaker and helped me think of different pathways after a law degree.
It was interesting to see what goes into being a politician and it was insightful to see what kind of work he does as a politician.
A very interesting point of view regarding parliament.