So this blogpost will be on my experience of Queensland Youth Parliament Sitting week. I can write these words but nothing is like experiencing it. The week was a huge blur of little sleep, lost voices, many shames and bag puns which were still funny.
Queensland Youth Parliament consists of 93 humans (un)like myself (because they are all more academically inclined and much more motivated than myself) but all ready to make a difference in our state, some our world. This program is run for and by people aged 15-25 who show interest in politics.
The day of arrival was team building activities, not that the team of PIE (Primary Industries and Environment) needs building. Activities included a tower of straws and paper planes along with advertising campaigns to sell them. As a more serious activity we split into focus groups to talk about some big issues such as the LGBT+ community, homelessness and indigenous affairs. In the nighttime was a song and dance that had to do with our committee. We in PIE did Working Class Man with our lead Callan Daley killing the lip syncing.
Day 2 started with talks and different focus groups on our chosen topic from the day before. I chose LGBT+ issues, we got to have a great chat with a police officer about how the police force is moving forward and accepting the LGBT+ community. This was also the day we heard around 30 speeches for Youth Premier. I am almost ashamed to say I was crazy excited at the results. I was not only excited that our Prem was Sean but also that I was on Government to experience his leadership. The opposition was not lacking in leadership having voted in 2nd year Will. After a fantastic entrance by PIE into the arena, trivia was on. I don’t remember who one but I feel like PIE are always winners. Between rounds of questions were small games such as finding lollies in flour and shoving as many marshmallows in your mouth as possible. I myself happened to win the game of eating a dry weet bix first, not my proudest moment, I don’t even like weet bix. Later that night were the first caucus meetings for Parliament the next day.
Day 3 was our first day in Parliament, first the opening ceremony. Secondly a Matter of Public Importance, topic being Abortion. The debate and banter around this subject was a mix of funny yet serious. So many great points were made and some controversial ones but the end vote was females have a right to choose body autonomy. Private Member Statements next on a range of subjects including rape culture, suicide and mental health. Private Member Statements being a 2 minute speech on whatever topic a member might choose.
Day 4 which was day 2 of Parliament started with question time, as this was Youth Parliament our questions were not too serious. Our youth prem had given a great speech the day before about his LCM policy (I should probably mention our youth prem is more commonly known as the LCM kid). Gov decided early on that if we made fun of ourselves the oppo would have less ammunition. First question off the bat was about the LCM policy and the jokes didn’t stop there. It was the day we first debated a bill or three also. The amazing race which was played in committees, had 9 activities. While no team finished all 9, us in PIE finished 5 activities which makes us winners!
Day 5 started off with our Deputy Speaker as the member for Nanango (which I am the Youth Member for). After some controversial Private Member Statements and a bill. Next was a Matter of Public Importance on the topic of Alcohol Fuelled Violence, the Government had a plan to lower beer wine and cider drinking age to 16. A plan that was shot down in debate by the opposition but when it came time to vote, this and our 3 other great ideas as well as the Oppositions well thought out plan, TIED. This was a QYP first ladies and gents. Some Private Member Statements later and the National Matter of Public Importance was up for debate: Euthanasia. On Euthanasia there was not so much controversy and most agreed, like on the abortion MPI people voted for body autonomy. Thursday ended with a reception at Government house where the Youth Members met the Governor of Queensland.
Day 6 final day of Parliament. Slander was thrown like no other day on this our final day in the green room. The jokes started first up in Question time and ended right before the tears started during the closing ceremony. After dinner was a special QYP tradition (top secret) then onto the jungle dance. I thank everyone in PIE for comforting me when I found out my chicken died. Later in the night was the QYP talent show, the PIE committee came together for the last time for yet another great dance routine, the final bang. Late into the night and wee hours of the morning many of us spent writing warm and fuzzies (sickeningly cute notes) and chatting the night away.
Before leaving on the Saturday emotions were at the highest, many hugs shared, many tears shed and many feel good moments.
When you are in a place for a week where you eat the same food everyday, silly games become fun and you feel war cries are a part of everyday, you know you can’t stay too long! All of this sentimental crap brought to you by the person who cries at the end of How I Met Your Mother but NOT on the last day of QYP along with everyone else.
At the closing ceremony everyone kept telling us that QYP would change us, I really didn’t see how. I didn’t see how until I got home and I felt confident enough to put up my first youtube video with me in it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OwoIm3hH0Y). I have always had no problems expressing how I feel and now I can ask others how they feel, QYP really has changed me.