Words: Catherine NorwoodProviding husbands for daughters, getting people out of prison, curing alcoholism, or even preventing a person from being gay. These are examples of requests, not to a deity, but to parliamentarians.Such requests can be as long as they are eclectic. And in these days of social media, accelerating from email through to Facebook and Twitter, constituents expect a response almost immediately, says social researcher Professor Colleen Lewis. As head of Social Science at Monash University’s Johannesburg campus in South Africa, Professor Lewis is part of an international team investigating the education and training of federal Members of Parliament (MPs) in 10 countries: Australia, Canada, Chile, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Romania, South Africa, the UK, Uruguay and Vietnam. The research is funded through the Australian Research Council, in conjunction with the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
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