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Isaiah and Anthony – National Indigenous Youth Parliamentarians

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Two young Indigenous men dressed in black hoodies stand arm in arm in front of the white pillars of the Australian Parliament House. The text on their jackets read National Indigenous Youth Parliament.
Isaiah Dawe and Anthony Turner
16 Jun 2017

At the 2017 National Indigenous Youth Parliament (NIYP) held in May, participants not only learned more about government and parliamentary process, they argued their cause in front of each other at the despatch box in Old Parliament House.

Two participants, Isaiah Dawe from Redfern in Sydney and Anthony Turner from Albany in Western Australia, gave their first impressions soon after the event began. They have now had the chance to reflect on the entire experience.

Isaiah said he was humbled and privileged to meet such an absolutely amazing and deadly group of young people at the NIYP.

“I wanted to see if politics was something I was interested in getting into and working within,” Isaiah said.

“After this experience I now know that politics is something I am very interested in getting involved with. I got a taste from NIYP and now I want to take a bite, as I can see the significant and large change I could possibly make in doing so.”

At left, an Indigenous young man wearing a suit and tie stands behind microphone holding some papers. At right, another Indigenous young man wearing a suit and tie stands behind microphone holding some papers.
Isaiah and Anthony making their cases for change

Anthony said he was grateful for the support of the mentors and meeting his fellow parliamentarians.

“Over the week I noticed that everyone started becoming a tight knit group,” Anthony said.

“I realised that it took real guts, and some fear to stand up in front of 49 other people and tell your story but everyone helped each other through the process.”

NIYP’s aim is to increase electoral participation by Indigenous Australians. However, it also inspires its participants, increases their confidence and creates informal networks among Australia’s future Indigenous leaders.

“I see the future for our generation looking so bright with the people we have possibly getting into politics and leaders of organisations and companies from NIYP,” Isaiah said.

“I can also see from our group of NIYP, many with the potential to become the first Indigenous Prime Minister. If I had that opportunity come my way, I would grab at it with both hands as well.”

Group of 50 Indigenous young people sit and stand in room with green carpet and seats and wood panelled walls.
The National Indigenous Youth Parliamentarians of 2017

A good event inspires and uplifts its participants and when that happens, they will spread the message.

“I urge all Young Aboriginal leaders in their communities to apply for the next NIYP as it will change your life for the better,” Anthony said.

Find out more

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