Office of Louise Ellman internship report - Laura Bieniak

Laura Bieniak photo
Laura Bieniak (centre) with colleagues Becky and Alex

Internship organisation

London office of Louise Ellman, a Labour/Co-Operative member of parliament for Liverpool Riverside

Internship period

18 June 2012 - 20 July 2012

Outline of my internship

I worked in the MP’s office at Westminster for five weeks, and was involved in a range of tasks, including drafting correspondence to constituents and Ministers, administrative work, and research. I was able to see how an MP’s office worked, and to watch parliamentary debates and committees.

About my host organisation

I worked in the London office of Louise Ellman, a Labour/Co-Operative member of parliament for Liverpool Riverside.  She has been in office since 1997, prior to which she was a city councillor and lecturer. She chairs the Parliamentary Transport Committee.

Total cost of my internship experience

My flights cost around $2300, and accommodation and living expenses were about $2000 over the five weeks.

Laura Bieniak photo
Laura (far right) taking guests on a tour of Westminster

Who will suit this internship

Primarily politics or economics students, though I found its value seemed quite broad. The decisions made in parliament affect all citizens, and increasingly the wider world as well. I was really encouraged to see the extent to which Louise responded to the concerns of her constituents, and the range of issues constituents did raise - everything from prison conditions to puppy farming. Parliament is, ultimately, accountable to the people it serves, and the responses we received from ministers when Bills were queried could be really interesting.

Advice for others wanting to apply for internship

If there is an area of policy you are particularly interested in, try and intern with a minister responsible. If you end up working in the industry you’ll gain a really valuable perspective on it.

Best experiences

The best experiences were learning to express policy positions in response to constituents’ letters, going to watch debates, and getting to know the other staffers.

About Laura Bieniak

She is currently in her second year of a Masters of Workplace and Employment Law, with which she aims to build on a career in government sector industrial relations. Having worked for a state government agency during their enterprise bargaining negotiations, she had experienced the impact government policy and political considerations can have on industrial outcomes in the public sector. She had applied to intern with a British Member of Parliament (MP) hoping that working closely with a member of parliament would give her a deeper understanding of the sorts of pressures parliamentarians face, and enable her to advocate for my organisation’s industrial interests more effectively. Have studied politics as an undergraduate, she is also interested in comparing the Australian and UK parliamentary systems.