Focus on representation for the future and youth engagement at 40th CPA Australia and Pacific Regional Conference in Queensland

Commonwealth Parliamentarians from across two CPA Regions have come together to discuss the importance of youth engagement in Parliaments at the 40th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Australia and Pacific Regional Conference in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia from 1 to 3 November 2023.

The CPA Regional Conference was opened with a welcome address by the CPA Australia Regional Chairperson, Hon. Curtis Pitt, MP, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland and was followed by a keynote presentation by Ms Talei Elu, 2023 Queensland Young Australian of the Year, who spoke of her experiences and thoughts on the Regional Conference theme of ‘Representation for the Future: Young People and Parliaments’.

Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff attended the CPA Regional Conference from the Australian Capital Territory; Australia Federal; Cook Islands; Fiji; Kiribati; Nauru; New South Wales; New Zealand; Niue; Northern Territory; Papua New Guinea; Queensland; Samoa; South Australia; Tuvalu; Victoria; and Western Australia.

The CPA Chairperson, Hon. Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP spoke to delegates at the Regional Conference and thanked them for their support for the CPA.

The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg also updated Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff on the CPA’s governance and recent activities for the membership including the CPA Parliamentary Academy and the next Commonwealth Youth Parliament, due to take place in New Zealand next year. He said: “I was pleased to be able to attend the 40th CPA Regional Conference for the Australia and Pacific Regions in Brisbane and to update Members on the CPA’s priorities for 2024 as set out in our Strategic Plan including CPA’s work on youth engagement and the work of our networks – the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities and the CPA Small Branches network. 2024 will be a very important year in the CPA Pacific and Australia Regions as they will provide the venues for the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Samoa, the 67th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in New South Wales and the Commonwealth Youth Parliament in New Zealand.”

Regional Conference presentations included Queensland MP, Joan Pease, who explored engaging young people with Parliamentary Committees; ACT MP, Johnathan Davis, on voting rights for 16 and 17 year olds; the Speaker of the Cook Islands, Hon. Tutai Tura on the benefits of youth participation and representation in Parliaments; Hon. Samuelu Penitala Teo, Speaker of Tuvalu on resilience measures against sea level rise as the impact of climate change is an area of key concern to young people; and the Deputy Speaker of Samoa Hon. Auuapaau Mulipola Aloitafua Mulipola on representation and participation amongst young people.

The recently appointed CPA President, Hon. Ben Franklin, MLC, President of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, also looked ahead to the 67th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference due to be held in Sydney, Australia in November 2024.