For the first time, the conference involved half days at different points of interest throughout the city, from the High Court to Parliament House.
“The Parliamentary Education Office people did the tour for us, but we were fortunate enough, because Parliament wasn’t sitting and also because it was a lean day, to get a bit of the back corridor stuff built into our tour,” Kuc says.
“Normally they take you into both of the Houses of Parliament and say ‘this is this and this is that’, walk you around a bit about the public areas and say ‘this is this, this is that’.
“But we actually got into the background and ‘OK, this is where the prime minister’s office is...’ and got a few personal insights, a few anecdotes, a bit more understanding of the relationship between the press and the politicians than you would normally.”
BEA’s membership base is fairly broad, including accounting, legal studies and even civics teachers.
“That Parliament trip was focused in on civics and citizenship teachers, but that doesn’t mean that they were the only ones that were there,” Kuc says.
“Each of those tour sessions if you like was open to anyone who was interested to go along from the conference.”
The gathering also boasted big-name keynotes, with both Australian Human Rights Commission president Rosalind Croucher and Reserve Bank of Australia head of economic analysis Alexandra Heath making an appearance.
“[Heath’s] keynote was of particular interest to economics and business teachers because she talks about trends in the Australian labour market, where are we up to, where are we going, what’s the state of underemployment, unemployment, over-employment, and that went over very well,” Kuc says.
Kuc partially credits the conference’s success to its limited size.
“By running a boutique conference and planning hard to get good speakers and good practitioners, you know that you’re going to get better bang for your buck so to speak, because you’re going to be able to target your sessions far more carefully and be able to network far more easily,” he says.