The Far North Queensland sitting of Parliament was held in Cairns from 28 to 30 October 2008 at the Cairns Convention Centre.

An exhibition highlighting parliamentarians and decision-making from the Far North Queensland region was prepared for the sitting and will be permanently displayed in Parliament House.

As occurred with the two previous Regional Parliaments, the sitting program reflected the usual business of Parliament when it sits in Brisbane with the exception of the program for the Wednesday which commenced later and included the Question Time session in the evening. Again, the evening Question Time session proved the most well-attended session of the Parliament with 755 members of the public in attendance.

Almost 2,000 school students from 44 schools, experienced the Parliament in action while it sat in Cairns. Students were also provided with a briefing on the function and role of the Queensland Parliament and its Members. A Youth Parliament involving schools from across the Far North Queensland region was conducted on 22 August 2008.

A range of community engagement activities and displays were conducted in conjunction with the sitting. These included:

  • a display of parliamentary artefacts, documents and photographic images from the parliamentary archives and 19th century heritage O'Donovan Collection highlighting the history of the Far North Queensland region
  • a series of interactive educational displays about the Queensland Parliament, parliamentary processes and key historical events
  • portraits of the four Premiers who have represented Far North Queensland electorates as well as Eric Deeral, the Member for Cook from 1974-77, who at that time was the only Indigenous person to have been elected to the Queensland Parliament
  • free public information sessions
  • Electoral Commission of Queensland displays
  • Queensland Government departmental displays.

The play Citizen Jane—which examines government and parliamentary processes in an educative and entertaining way—was also presented over the three sitting days at the Jute Theatre in Cairns.

For the first time, the Queensland Parliament partnered with a charity for a regional sitting. The Parliament supported the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Qld Division) in its 80th year through raising donations and awareness of the vital medical service they provide throughout Queensland. To support this partnership, a parliamentary officer cycled from Brisbane to Cairns in the lead-up to the event. To learn more about this charity ride, read the blog here.

Other events conducted in conjunction with the sitting included a state reception and a free public barbeque on the Cairns Esplanade.