22 Oct My time as Gladstone’s Member for Queensland Youth Parliament
Throughout 2021 I have had the honour of being the Youth Member for Gladstone as part of YMCA’s Queensland Youth Parliament.
Under the program, which is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Parliament House, 92 young people, one from each electorate, are selected, based on their passion for their community, to participate in Youth Parliament and have their voices heard.
Only a few young people have had the honour of being a Youth Parliamentarian, which involves community engagement, interacting with their local MP, and writing a Youth Bill for their chosen Portfolio – hopefully for it to become a Youth Act in the Queensland Parliament.
In the past many Youth Acts have become actual laws in Queensland, some examples include Revenge Pornography Laws and the 100 Hour Learning to Drive Laws.
This proves that young people have the capability to be politically minded and make great change in this state.
I was a part of the team on the Justice, Legal Affairs and Corrections Portfolio, and later became the Shadow Attorney-General and Minister for my Portfolio.
Over the recent school holidays we passed our Bill on raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14, which is now being considered by the Queensland Governor and the Parliamentary Committee for Community Support and Services.
We also helped pass other Youth Bills such as the Health Portfolio’s Bill on Free Sanitary Items in Queensland public bathrooms, and the Domestic Violence Portfolio’s Bill on Criminalising Coercive Control.
All of these bills were innovative, created immense and exciting debate in parliament, and proved that legislation reform is important to young people in Queensland right now.
Outside of the chamber, in between my Year 12 studies and extracurricular activities at Toolooa State High School, I set the goal of being active in my home-town of Gladstone, and listening to as many people as possible.
This included announcing the Gladstone Vaccination Hub with our MP Glenn Butcher, donating blood at the Gladstone Hospital, planning the 2021 CQ Youth Summit in Rockhampton, and broadcasting a webinar to high school students across CQ about post-school university opportunities with The University of Queensland.
It was an absolute privilege to be out in our community, helping as many people as I could, and representing the passionate, kind and hardworking people of Gladstone down in our state’s capital.
I’m relocating to Brisbane in February 2022 to start a Bachelor of Law (Honours)/ Humanities at The University of Queensland, and I am so excited to see where my future in law and or politics takes me.
I can’t apply to represent our community again in 2022, but I encourage any young person in Gladstone, between the ages of 15 and 25, who has a passion for our community to consider becoming a Youth Parliamentarian.
It is truly a life changing experience, and will grow your knowledge of politics, the Gladstone Region, and yourself, more than you ever know.
Expression of Interests for 2022 are open now, visit https://www.ymcabrisbane.org/services/queensland-youth-parliament to learn more or submit an EOI.
By Brooke Stone