The YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament (QYP) continues its 28-year legacy of engaging young Queenslanders in the political process. A nonpartisan YMCA run initiative, the program gives young people a platform to discuss and debate issues affecting their communities.
The program selects one individual, aged 15 to 25 years old, to represent each electorate in the state, for a total of 93 participants (known as Youth Members).
Jasmin Peak, a former Youth Member who now sits on the Executive Team, explained how QYP operates.
“The program starts with a Launch Ceremony that takes place in April, during which those in each portfolio meet and get sworn in as Youth Members. Youth Members choose their Bill topics and brainstorm ideas and Ministers are assigned.
“Throughout the year participants engage in sessions with Parliamentary Offices. These sessions offer insights and guidance into the Bill process. Throughout this process participants learn the language and structure required for drafting Bills as if they were members of a real Parliament.
“In September we meet for a week called Residential Sitting Week where participants elect a Youth Premier and a Youth Opposition Leader, along with other Cabinet Members, through a voting process. After the elections, the group spends most of the week at Parliament House where they engage in Parliamentary activities, such as delivering Private Members’ Statements, presenting Bills, and discussing both National and State Matters of Public Importance.”
Jasmin, who lives in Townsville and studies Veterinary Science at James Cook University, emphasised the importance of involving young people from rural areas.
“It’s really important that rural communities get their own voice. The issues are not the same as those in the cities. This process gives those Youth Members a voice,” she said.
Jasmin’s advice for those interested in future Youth Parliament opportunities is to give it a go.
““I went into the program just wanting to make some friends, but I enjoyed it so much and all that it brings. Even if you just want some public speaking or some leadership experience, it’s a good program to try.”
|The QYP will be on the road with a Regional Engagement Tour scheduled for October. For more details on the tour, including dates and locations, interested youth are encouraged to visit the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament Facebook or Instagram page (@ymcaqyp).|
|“I thoroughly enjoyed working with different representatives from different regions, as it has broadened my knowledge of Queensland and the diversity of issues within it. The thing that challenged me the most during the week was trying to understand the issues of those living in highly populated areas, as they are just so vastly different from those experienced in my community of Emerald.” |
Lucy Mathews, Youth Member for Gregory
“QYP 2023 has been remarkable and unlike anything that I have ever experienced. It brought Youth Members from all different backgrounds and diversities together and gave us a platform to express issues that are impacting our individual communities. Some of the conversations that I have had back at camp or in the Chamber have been empowering and eye-opening, giving me insight into things outside of my Moranbah Isaac bubble.”
Declan Baggow, Youth Member for Burdekin
“During Sitting Week we learnt about the importance of working with Brisbane to better our own regions. Whether it be skilled workers, or vital services and community focused infrastructure, those of us representing the regions need to work with the South-East to better all of Queensland.”
Sebastian Paget, Youth Member for Whitsunday