Reception in support of the 28th YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament
Youth Governor of Queensland, Mr Jamie Robbins; YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament Members and Supporters; Distinguished guests; Ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to all First Nations people here this evening.
It is a pleasure to once again host this reception in support of the YMCA Queensland Youth Parliament, currently in its 28th year.
I have enjoyed witnessing, first-hand as it happens, the work performed by members of this Youth Parliament in representing their electorates and in doing so furthering young people’s understanding of our democratic process.
As many of you would know, I recently hosted Youth Governor of Queensland, Mr Jamie Robbins, at Government House for the better part of a working day, during which time he was an official guest at one of our Investiture Ceremonies to confer Australian Honours and Awards on deserving Queenslanders.
Your Excellency, I hope enjoyed the experience and hopefully learned something you didn’t already know about the day-to-day role, responsibilities and real experiences of a Queensland Governor.
I have little doubt that for all of you, the six-month commitment to the Youth Parliament program not only affords you the opportunity to advise our State’s decision-makers on what is important to young people, but also promotes your personal growth and development.
It is certainly worth acknowledging the longevity of this enterprise — since 1996 the Queensland Government has partnered with YMCA to deliver the Queensland Youth Parliament.
That in itself is a testament to the fact that young people are deeply interested in the democratic process and how government bodies operate.
To our youth parliamentarians here this evening and those who have come before you, we are grateful for your contribution. Tackling the big issues is fundamental to such a program.
There is nothing trifling about Culturally Responsive Care in the area of Child Protection, or Waste Reduction and Innovation, or Improving Workplace Inclusion and Culture – just some of the Bills that were written, debated and presented by the Youth Parliament in 2022.
Knowing what concerns the youth of today is essential to forging a better tomorrow.
Entertaining different perspectives and engaging in cross-generational discussions afford the opportunity to create positive outcomes for all.
Learning how to put voice to concerns, how to act on behalf of others, and how to make informed, democratic change is an empowering process.
I doubt you will soon forget your experience as a Youth Member, and I imagine the expertise you have gained during your time in this program, and the connections made between you, will have a great influence on you well into adulthood.
The transformative reputation of the Youth Parliament is well documented, and I am sure that your views on many issues will be taken on board and perhaps even acted upon.
May the program continue to ‘bridge the gap between legislators and youth in Queensland’ for many years to come. Thank you.