Young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints interacted recently with elected officials at Queensland’s Parliament House, asking questions and learning about the responsibilities of their government representatives.
The young men and women, all in their late teens or twenties, then stepped into the roles of Members of Parliament by practising the movement of a proposal through the required procedures to its becoming a bill.
60 young Latter-day Saints from across Brisbane took part in the event that consisted of two workshops including a question and answer session with leaders of the community.
The visit was an opportunity for the youth to learn more of what it means to be an involved and engaged member of the community.
Mark Robinson, Queensland’s Deputy Speaker, said, “I am excited to see and address so many young adults learning about Parliament. My own faith plays a role in my life and career. I encourage these young people to hold firm to their morals and standards in the world.”
In all, thirteen Members of Parliament, as well as business and religious leaders, gave their time to attend and interact with the young people. Each of the youth spent time with their local constituent members, discussing issues and learning more of the processes which guide the state and federal parliaments. They left better understanding their own civic responsibilities.
The first workshop of the evening, presented by Tahnee Wroe, focused on the parliamentary procedures leading up to an idea becoming law. To illustrate the process, one group proposed a bill for a four-day working week, while another group opposed the proposal. The proposal was not carried.
The Members of Parliament participating commented that the young people’s presentation was well researched. David Gibson, M.P. from Gympie, said, “We all learned something about our roles and the intricate workings of Parliament.”
Church member, Madison Sturgess, presented the second workshop, focusing on civil responsibility and civil duty, and the difference between the two concepts. Drawing on the fundamental ideas of democracy from the ancient Greeks, Madison relied on passages from Latter-day Saint author, Stephen Covey, and well-known political writers.
Madison said, “I was intrigued with the idea of getting involved in our political system, not only as a civic duty, but as a civil responsibility.” Her passionate teaching about government also impressed the Members of Parliament present. Michael Pucci, Freya Ostapovich, Jason Costigan, and Seath Holswich said they seldom see such enthusiasm.
A question and answer session followed with business and religious leaders of the community. Chairing the panel, Elijah Sua moderated and expanded on questions given by members of the audience. Panel members included Parliamentarians David Gibson, Jo-Ann Miller, Tony Pennisi, Ari Heber, Louis Paul Franks, and Latter-day Saint leader Sue Owen.
Because this was a sitting week, the Members of Parliament were on the constant look out for the red light signal that they were needed in Parliament to vote on a Bill. In one instance, David Gibson was interrupted by the light half way through a sentence. Both he and colleague Mrs Miller left immediately to cast their votes in Chambers. For one young participant, “it was a wonderful opportunity to see democracy in action.”