State Councils of YMCAs of Queensland Reception for Youth Members of Parliament
It is a particular pleasure, as Governor, to welcome the members of the twenty-fifteen YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament here this evening.
I say this not only because this reception is an opportunity for Kaye and me to extend hospitality and to give our Youth Members an insight into the experience of real-life Members of Parliament, but because this will actually be the first Youth Parliament reception I have been able to host since my appointment as Governor — I was unable to host last year’s event as Kaye and I were then en route to the UK for an audience with Her Majesty The Queen.
Unfortunately, this customary gubernatorial visit to Buckingham Palace is not among the privileges extended to our Youth Governor, but I know that there are passionate, committed young Queenslanders here tonight who will certainly aspire to become a future Governor or Member of Parliament.
Indeed there is an excellent precedent in Kate Jones, the member for Ashgrove. Now Minister Jones had her first exposure to the reality of politics as a sixteen-year-old when she became the Premier of the inaugural Queensland Youth Parliament in nineteen ninety-five.
In the two decades since that first Youth Parliament, Queenslanders have experienced seven general elections, the leadership of four premiers, and government by both the Labor Party and the Liberal National Party.
Queensland governors since nineteen twenty-two have had to be very alert to the fact that this State has a unicameral parliament. Without the legislative review that would normally take place in an upper house, the Governor’s role in ensuring that Queensland has a stable Parliament becomes vitally important.
It’s not surprising that, historically, this has produced some fiery disputes between governors and premiers. Those who question the relevance of the position of governor need only be referred to the splendid example provided by Queensland’s twenty-first governor, Sir Walter Campbell. The exemplary manner in which Sir Walter dealt with such contests of will has made him a personal model for my own term as Governor.
I trust that our Youth Governor and every member of this Youth Parliament will also find mentors whose example they can seek to emulate. I wish you all well for the time ahead and congratulate the YMCA on its twenty-year achievement and continued commitment to this important program.