The kids at Gerringong's Little Cherubs Preschool may not be able to vote for a decade or so, but they received an early lesson in politics yesterday as Foreign Minister Bob Carr hit the campaign trail.
Lending his support for Labor's candidates in Throsby and Gilmore, Mr Carr also ran a community forum on foreign policy in Berry with Neil Reilly, and visited St Joseph's Catholic High School with Stephen Jones to speak to senior legal studies and English students about how Australia secured its seat on the UN Security Council.
"I think it's wonderful that students are interested in international relations ... and Australia's role in world affairs," Mr Carr said.
"It is a great honour in a campaign to talk to Australians who have a keen interest in Australia's role in world affairs, and if they're people who are going to be voting in Australian elections for the next 80 years, that's a really great honour."
While the preschoolers swapped notes with the Foreign Minister on how to say "hello" in Khmer as part of their unit on life in Cambodia, the high school students had more difficult questions to ask about his government's asylum seeker policies.
"It is easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding the issue [of stopping the boats], although Australians are rarely given a glimpse into the reasons the asylum seekers themselves are seeking our protection," one year 12 student said.
"The analogy of a leaking roof could be applied - you don't put a bucket under the roof, you fix the hole - so my question is, has the government considered that this issue should be solved from a grassroots level and finding solutions to the problems that are forcing these people to make such a treacherous journey?"
St Joseph's principal John Barrington said his students were privileged to be able to question a high-profile source.
"You can read this in a textbook but talking to Bob Carr really brings it alive for them," he said.
Mr Carr also answered questions about allegations the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on its people in the country's escalating conflict.
He said the Australian government was determined to work with the UN to investigate these reports and ensure the ban on chemical weapons was adhered to by all nations.