A great deal of effort has gone into developing a set of handouts for issue at the talks. The author is conscious that while travelling around Australia he is only with a group of people for a relatively brief time, talking about something that perhaps most have never encountered - and then disappearing.
Not everyone takes the handouts distributed for a talk, and the author happily accepts that not everyone is especially interested. But for those who are interested - and most seem to be - he thinks it important that they at least have the opportunity of later looking back at the issues touched on during the talk they attended. If the handouts are carefully put away somewhere - perhaps like the family Bible - never to be opened, that is also fine! But there is the possibility that one or two - out of the hundreds the author has met - might even want to go further. The handouts could therefore be a starting point for exploring the Constitution; this, indeed, is the purpose of the reading list in Handout 3.
A complete set of handouts will from time to time be given to ‘strangers’, that is, people who do not attend a talk. Statistics have not been kept of the number distributed in this way. It may be as high as one quarter of the number of people who attend talks.
The basic ‘ration’ of handouts distributed at talks to adults is the handouts numbered 1 to 3. These contain the core of the message about the Constitution. Handout 2 contains the words of a short song (‘It’s our Constitution’) that is sung by the author at every presentation. This, along with the hats he uses as props, is intended to give a degree of informality to the talks, rather than an event presented as a ‘lecture’. During these talks reference is made to handouts 4 and 5, and these are made available to anyone who requests a copy.
Handout 4 is intended for anyone particularly interested in more detail about federal systems. It was prepared with senior students in mind and is issued at talks to Year 11 and 12 students, along with Handouts 1 to 3.
Handout 5 is intended to explain the relocation proposal in a concise and non-technical way. Unlike the other handouts, which are printed on A4 paper at stationers like Officeworks, the size and format of Handout 5 required it to be printed by a commercial printer. Like Handout 4, it is issued to Year 11 and 12 students, and on request to others.
Handouts are not generally issued to younger audiences (Grades 5/6 and Year 7), however a sheet containing the words of the song ‘Our Constitution’ is circulated. To these groups there is more emphasis on ‘story’ with large laminated pictures to illustrate some of the influences that brought Australians together, such as the advent of the steamship and the railway. But even here, the existence of colonial/state parliaments and the national parliament are each pointed out; the subjects of the laws that each might make are noted (eg, ‘army', ‘post office' and ‘banks' for the Commonwealth), and their respective geographic applications illustrated by appropriate cross-hatching marked-up during the talk on a large laminated map. For Years 8 to 12 Handouts 1 to 3 are issued.