Emily - 2010 Graduate Program



Home State: Queensland
University: University of Queensland
Qualifications: Honours in Political Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Science

I grew up on the Gold Coast then moved to the U.K for my 'gap year' between high school and Uni. I worked in a English Boarding House looking after 12 boys - it was hard work but I got all of the school holidays to travel as much as Europe as I could possibly see! After my year overseas I moved to Brisbane to start my University.

I studied Political Science, French and Community Development. I undertook a significant amount of study related to social justice, and became very interested in the equality of Indigenous Australians. After I graduated from my Bachelor degrees I decided I didn't want to give up the long Uni holidays so I undertook an additional Honours year in Political Science. My thesis focused on the gap between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australian high school completion. When completing my thesis I read a lot of government reports, and realized that working in the government would give me an interesting insight into how policy is created and put into practice - so, I started applying for graduate positions in Canberra!

My interest in Indigenous culture, people and heritage lead me to apply for this Department's graduate program. I didn't know a lot about the other areas the Department works on - and thought it'd give me an opportunity to learn about a variety of different issues and areas I didn't know much about. I was right - my experiences this year have been incredibly varied and I've had the opportunity to expand my knowledge significantly!


First Placement: Coorong Tasforce - Water Reform Division

In this rotation I learnt a lot about water - something I previously knew little to nothing about. I did a significant amount of project management work in this rotation. The team was very small but very supportive and encouraged me to undertake a variety of 'standard' government tasks. I wrote a number of briefs, responded to a large amount of ministerial correspondence and helped draft a Tier 2 Project Plan. It was a very busy section and a great place to start my graduate year.

Second Placement: Literature and Lending Rights, Culture Division

In this rotation I assisted in the implementation of the Prime Minister's Literary Awards. I love to read, so it was the perfect rotation for me! I was constantly surrounded by amazing books - and I was able to borrow them whenever I chose to! I assisted in planning and organizing the short list announcement event for the Awards and frequently consulted with the judges of the Awards and the authors, illustrators and publicists of the books entered. I also helped the Lending Rights team with the Australian Public and Educational Lending Rights payments.

Third Placement: Arts Support, Arts Policy and Access, Arts Division

In my final rotation I worked primarily on Indigenous contemporary music programs and policy. Most of my work was focused on a program called Breakthrough which provides grants to Indigenous artists to support Indigenous contemporary music. It was great to work in a section that supports such a wonderful part of Australian culture. I assisted with the drafting of the funding agreements of the successful grant applicants and helped draft some important policy papers.

During this rotation I also pounced on an opportunity to help out in the Minister's Office as they were temporality without a receptionist. Luckily my section supported me to go, and I was able to sit up in Parliament House for two weeks helping out. It was a great experience! I was able to meet the Minister, as well as a considerable amount of the Department's Executives. It was a great way for me to see what happens 'at the top' and made me realize how ridiculously busy the Minister and all of his staff are!

'the best thing about working for us ... is the environment'