Setting the bar high


It's not often you find a teenager with a strong plan for their future. Merinda Coles is certainly the exception to that rule and her ambitious nature will lead her there. The bright and bubbly year 11 student has a strong passion for politics and law and has been chosen as the representative for the Kurwongbah electorate in Queensland Youth Parliament. It was a long application process but one that ultimately paid off in the end.

“I'm very proud to be a part of something that could really change the way the youth of today are perceived," Merinda says of her new role. “I feel genuinely privileged to have been accepted, especially in a year that was so difficult to get in due to the high number of applicants."

As part of her role on the portfolio for Justice, Legal Affairs and Corrections, Merinda will have the opportunity to work with other Youth Parliament members to write a Bill proposing a law reform they are passionate about.

 “I want to write something to do with vaping because I am very much against it and I want to protect the youth from it," Merinda says. “It has dangerous side effects and it is such a waste of life if people my age are dying from such a stupid decision they make."

Merinda's interest in the political field was sparked by her family dynamic, with her parents (who she speaks very highly of!) working in government fields. She hopes to eventually work in criminal law with a potential venture into politics down the track.

“I've always loved elections and I've always had strong opinions on politics," she says. “I think it's important that young people have these opinions on things because it shapes our future and it impacts us down the line.

“I wrote a proposal to a few ministers and government officials to get politics in young people's lives through school classes and websites which would provide information on how to vote and which parties offered what. This led me down a path on which I met the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Health Minister and the Treasurer, all of whom I managed to get photos with."

There's more to Merinda than meets the eye. Aside from politics, she has a love of music (particularly 70s and 80s such as Queen), movies, books, reading about and researching true crime and psychology. She's also a prefect for Garawi at school.

“I think human nature and how people react to things is fascinating," she says. “I do debating, which really helps me connect with different grades and teachers. It also helps with my public speaking and ties in strongly to law and politics. I'm a mega nerd but I own it. I think people should just be who they want to be and not let people bring them down or get in the way of who they are."



Last reviewed 18 August 2022
Last updated 18 August 2022