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2017 National Indigenous Youth Parliament – training our future leaders

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Group of Indigenous young adults dressed mainly in black tops stand in front of the Australian Parliament House holding the Aboriginal flag and the letters and numbers N.I.Y.P. 17
2017 National Indigenous Youth Parliament participants at the National Parliament of Australia.
24 May 2017

The third National Indigenous Youth Parliament (NIYP) began today in Canberra. The young Indigenous leaders from around Australia are eager to learn about government.

The week-long program teaches participants aged 16-25 about Australia’s democracy. This includes how government works, how to make laws, public speaking and media advice.

Participants will also meet with and learn from the nation’s leaders. Mentors will include Members of Parliament, the press gallery, Indigenous community leaders and senior public servants.

Year 11 student Anthony Turner from North Albany Senior High School, Western Australia said he hopes to get a better understanding of how parliamentarians do their job.

“I want to understand how politics in Australia works, and to meet a lot of like-minded people like myself to connect to, and form friendships with,” Anthony said.

The main event is a two-day simulated parliament in the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra. The participants will debate bills and issues affecting their communities.

Twenty-two-year-old Isaiah Dawe from Redfern in Sydney, is a descendant of the Butchulla and Gawara Peoples. Amongst other things, he works at the Human Rights Commission.

“I am specifically advocating to change parts of the system that failed me, the ‘out of home care’ policies,” Isaiah said.

“I want to be a part of the movement of change when it comes to preventing young Indigenous children being removed from their families.”

Two Indigenous young adults in dark tops stand arm in arm in front of the Australian Parliament House.
Isaiah Dawe (left) and Anthony Turner

NIYP aims to increase electoral participation by Indigenous Australians. Youth in particular, are less likely to enrol to vote or vote. They are also more likely to vote informally than other Australians.

The event is organised by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) in partnership with the YMCA and Museum of Australian Democracy. It celebrates the 50th anniversary of Indigenous Australians’ right to vote in federal elections. NIYP began in 2012.

Find out more

The National Indigenous Youth Parliament is run by the Australian Electoral Commission, in partnership with the YMCA, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Indigenous Australians’ right to vote in federal elections.