2021 Rockhampton Youth Parliament
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, the Honourable Curtis Pitt MP; Assistant Minister and Member for Keppel, Ms Brittany Lauga; Member for Rockhampton, Mr Barry O’Rourke; staff and students from Allenstown State School, Capricornia School of Distance Education, Sacred Heart School Yeppoon, St Mary’s Catholic School and St Anthony’ Catholic School.
I begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands around Rockhampton, the Darumbal people, and I extend my respects and greetings to Elders past, present and emerging.
I am delighted to join you all for today’s Rockhampton Youth Parliament.
Over the last few weeks, you will have been busily learning all about the parliamentary process, and how laws are developed and debated.
I know you will be very excited to turn your knowledge into action when you debate motions and deliver adjournment debates during today’s sessions.
Many of the rules about how parliament operates are written down.
However, there are also lots of unwritten rules – called conventions – which play an equally important role in the parliamentary process.
One of those conventions prevents the Governor, as the representative of the Crown, from entering the Legislative Assembly.
This convention goes back hundreds of years, and reflects the practice in the United Kingdom where The Queen does not enter the House of Commons – the lower house of parliament which is known as ‘the people’s house’.
This explains why I will be very careful today not to walk across the floor of the Youth Parliament, and why the Sergeant-at-Arms announced my arrival before I asked the Speaker’s permission to enter the room.
I am very grateful Mr Speaker gave me permission to enter, by the way, because I can now meet so many attentive, bright students who are excited to learn about democracy.
I am very grateful to the Queensland Parliamentary Service for bringing this worthwhile Youth Parliament initiative to Rockhampton.
I am equally grateful to see our elected MPs here today demonstrating their support.
Not only does this Youth Parliament program help young Queenslanders gain a better understanding of our democratic system, but it also provides students with a public platform to raise issues of concern to them.
Finally, I thank all teachers and students for taking the time to prepare for and participate in this initiative.
I look forward to meeting many of you throughout the course of the morning tea, and to hearing more about the important issues you will debate today. Thank you.