Indigenous youth ready to lead the way
Fifty young Indigenous future leaders return to their communities this week armed with new knowledge and skills from the first ever National Indigenous Youth Parliament. The team of six representatives from each state and territory, plus two people from the Torres Strait, spent a week in Canberra to experience the national political process and learn valuable leadership skills.
The program included two days of debate on bills written by the team, as well as a series of talks and seminars from prominent Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders.
Twenty-year-old Larrakia woman Nateesha Collins made the journey from Darwin to represent the Northern Territory.
For Nateesha, one of the week’s highlights was being able to share an important issue in her community – a request for cultural awareness training to be compulsory for all teachers coming to Darwin schools who haven’t worked in Indigenous communities before.
“Having my speech heard by an actual politician was really awesome,” Nateesha said.
“I never thought they’d actually take into account and note down things that I’d say from my community.”
The National Indigenous Youth Parliament was 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.
“Some of my family don’t vote so I really want to be able to tell them the reason why they should,” Nateehsa said.
“We learnt about how parliament works and that everyone has a voice and can be heard. People fought for our right to even be able to vote so I want everyone to take that opportunity to have their say.”