What is RAIC?
RAIC is a not-for-profit educational program, held in Canberra over one full week, and run by the Rotary Clubs of Canberra and Woden, in partnership with the Parliamentary Education Office (PEO) for about 40 year 11 students. Its aim is to give attendees (or delegates as we call the Year 11 students who attend) an in-depth understanding of Australia’s Parliamentary democracy and what it means to be an Australian citizen.
How long does it last?
RAIC runs from Saturday to the following Saturday. Delegates arrive in Canberra by air, bus, train or car on Saturday and leave the following Saturday.
When is it held?
RAIC is generally held over the Parliamentary Budget week. The Budget is traditionally held on the second Tuesday in May each year.
Who runs RAIC?
RAIC is run by the Rotary Clubs of Canberra and Woden, in partnership with the Parliamentary Education Office (PEO) of the Australian Parliament.
What does it cost?
The cost of sponsoring a delegate to attend RAIC is $1,200, which covers travel to and from Canberra (mostly by air from a capital city/major regional airport), all accommodation and all entrance fees and meals. The cost is usually borne by the sponsoring Rotary club, however, sometimes costs can be shared, perhaps with another Rotary club, or with a delegate’s family making some contribution.
Is the cost the same if I live closer to Canberra?
Yes, we set the cost the same irrespective of your location. This is to make sure that delegates who live remote from Canberra do not incur high costs that might prevent them from participating.
Where do delegates stay during the week?
Delegates stay with host Rotary families, in their homes, for the week. The hosts provide a bed, food and transport to and from Parliament House, free of charge. All the Rotary Hosts are fully checked and possess Working with Children and Vulnerable People cards. Many of the hosts have participated in the Rotary Youth Exchange program and have hosted overseas exchange students.
What do the delegates do during the week?
RAIC is held in the Federal Parliament’s Budget sitting week, an exciting time for the delegates to be in Canberra where they will be immersed in the processes of our Federal Parliamentary system.
A large part of the week’s program is held in Parliament House where delegates will attend the Budget speech, the Opposition Leader’s response and Parliamentary Question time. They will meet members of Parliament, visit Canberra institutions, such as the War Memorial and the National Library, engage in activities, such as mock parliamentary debates, and meet people not normally accessible to visitors to Canberra.
How do I apply for RAIC?
First, you have to find a Rotary Club to sponsor you. Contact your local Rotary Club and tell them that you are interested in participating in RAIC. You will have to convince them that you are very serious about attending because the Club will have to spend $1200 for you to attend.
Alternatively, talk to your Teacher and tell them that you want to attend. Ask your Teacher if he or she could talk to a local Rotary Club and recommend you as a good choice for the program.
How do I fill the application forms out?
The application process is laid out in the RAIC Website.
Why does Rotary run RAIC?
The Rotary Clubs of Canberra and Woden are based in the home of the Australian Parliament and the Australian Government. The program educates delegates about how the Parliament and the Government works. The program, which has been going for almost 30 years, is very relevant as recent statistics suggest a worrying level of disengagement by young people from the foundations of our democracy. For example, the tenth annual Lowy Institute Poll, published in 2014 found that only 60% of Australians, and just 42% of young Australians 18-29 years of age, believe that ‘democracy is preferable to any other kind of government’, and recently, the Australian Electoral Commission estimated that around 13% of voters under the age of 25 and eligible to vote, had not bothered to enrol.
Is RAIC fun?
It is much, much more than just a school visit. Delegates from previous years have described RAIC as “the best week of my life”; and “an awesome program”, and have made good friends from other parts of Australia.
I am a member of a Rotary Club and would like my Club to sponsor a delegate for the next RAIC program. Where should I start?
We invite Rotary Clubs to include the sponsorship of a delegate to RAIC in their budget.
It would be useful for Rotary Clubs to talk to their local schools before they adjourn for the Christmas break with a view to identifying students who will be in Year 11 next year and would benefit from attending RAIC.
Please note that while we will accept more than one delegate from one Rotary club, we prefer not to take more than one delegate from the same school. We like to give the delegates new experiences and the opportunity to meet new people so they get the maximum benefit from their RAIC participation.