In 2002, the Queensland Parliament conducted its first sitting outside of Brisbane in its 142-year history. Between 3 and 5 September 2002 the Queensland Parliament sat at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre.

The electorates of Townsville, Thuringowa, Mundingburra, Burdekin, Whitsunday, Charters Towers, Mackay and Hinchinbrook were included in the North Queensland region for the purposes of the sitting.

The program for the sitting 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.

An exhibition highlighting parliamentarians from the North Queensland region since 1860 was prepared for the sitting and gifted to the Townsville City Council.

An estimated 8400 people visited the Parliament in Townsville including 4600 school students (some of whom received financial assistance to travel to Townsville through an Education Queensland school subsidy scheme).

Just over 1000 people attended the evening Question Time session. This is believed to be a record public gallery attendance for a session of an Australian Parliament.

Community engagement activities conducted in conjunction with the sitting and which were aimed at improving people's understanding of parliamentary, government and constitutional issues included:

  • the “Government Active Citizenship” display
  • a display of parliamentary artefacts and documents
  • a Youth Parliament
  • performances of the play Citizen Jane which was commissioned by the Government to commemorate the passage of the consolidated Queensland Constitution
  • an art competition

Activities which provided the community with access to Members of Parliament included a state reception on the evening before the sitting commenced, a free public barbeque and a breakfast.

To enable this sitting to occur outside the parliamentary precinct, Governor Peter Arnison declared by constitutional instrument under section 18 of the Constitution of Queensland Act 2001, that the place for sittings of the Legislative Assembly be changed from Parliament House, George Street, Brisbane to the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre, Entertainment Drive, Townsville on 3, 4 and 5 September 2002.