While the state pollies took a break, the next generation of leaders moved in to Parliament. Climate change, artificial intelligence and equal representation took front stage at this year’s YMCA Youth Parliament.

Tom Hainsworth reports.


Sitting in the seats they hope to one day call their own.

Ninety-three young Queenslanders have taken to Parliament to discuss bills and raise issues they feel are important for the state’s future.

The mock sitting of Parliament, now in its 24th year provides the next generation of budding politicians with an opportunity to hone their leadership skills.

Scott Stewart, Queensland Deputy Speaker: “This is about developing a skill set for these young people about how to articulate their thoughts, how to debate in a strategic manner and also then really become passionate about issues that they really are concerned about.”

The Palaszczuk Government contributed more than $67,000 towards this year’s program and youth members say the week-long sitting is an invaluable exercise.

Natasha Waldroff, Youth Parliamentarian: “It allows them to raise issues that are really important to them and really close to home, and it just gives youth a pathway to express their ideas and opinions.”

Issues surrounding representation were at the forefront of discussion and our future leaders say current politicians need to do more to promote and celebrate diversity.

While their professional counterparts rarely see eye-to-eye, the youth premier and opposition leader believe the key to future success is co-operation.

Sophie Kalkowski-Pope, Youth Opposition Leader: “I think at the end of the day there is always good comradery between us, and we’ve been a great support for each other this week.”

Jordan Mark, Youth Premier: “Perhaps we could be an example to the actual parliament.”

Tom Hainsworth, QUT News.