Meaghan Scanlon was just 24 when she created history as the youngest female elected to the Queensland Parliament. Now six months into her term, she remains firmly focused on her goals and what it means to represent her community.

“I became involved in politics because I thought I could change the world,” says the Griffith University graduate. “And while I still think that, I acknowledge that reform is hard and it takes time. It is not easy to change people’s minds and it is not easy to change institutions or laws.

“However, hard work, compassion and dedication create success and I’ll keep striving to make a difference.”

After being elected as the Labor Party Member for Gaven at the November 2017 State Election, Meaghan Scanlon MP is now Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development. Not only is she the youngest woman to sit in the State Parliament, she is the second youngest MP ever, after former Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg, who was just 21 when elected in 1989.

Ms Scanlon grew up in Nerang, where her parents owned a small business. At 13, she tragically lost her father to melanoma. Her younger brother Callum has Down Syndrome and Ms Scanlon helps her mother with Callum’s care.

Through such experience, she is keenly aware of how crucial is affordable and accessible healthcare — and how investing in medical research is vital.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in 2014, it was during her time at Griffith University that Ms Scanlon developed her commitment to the most vulnerable members of our community.

Growing up on the Gold Coast also contributed to her early interest in the tourism industry. Her role in the Queensland Government allows her to build on this interest and make a difference in supporting the continued growth and success of the industry.

Though still at the start of her political career, Ms Scanlon says she feels privileged to advocate for the people in her electorate and to champion reform that improves the lives of Queenslanders.

“I’ve always been interested in politics because it affects the lives of people in our community,” she says. “Values of fairness, equality and justice are what I believe in, and they are why I got involved: to create laws that represent these principles.”

Ms Scanlon also encourages other women to stand up and have a go.

“As women, we too often wait for someone to put us forward for positions because we might not feel as though we are the best applicant or qualified enough,” she says.

“The people I most admire are individuals who are genuine and stand up for what they believe in. I try to be as authentic as I can be and I am unapologetic for my beliefs.”