Future Indigenous leaders in first ever National Indigenous Youth Parliament
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett and the Special Minister of State, Gary Gray, today congratulated 48 outstanding young people on their participation in Australia’s first ever National Indigenous Youth Parliament in Canberra.
The Youth Parliament brings together future Indigenous leaders aged up to 25 years from across Australia to learn how the parliamentary system works, and to debate issues affecting them and their communities.
All the participants have been selected because of their leadership in their community, and their strong interest in the parliamentary system.
The six-day program is being run by the Australian Electoral Commission in partnership with the YMCA, and the Australian Government has provided $220,000 to support the event.
Participants will receive expert training in how laws are made, advocacy, public speaking and speaking with the media.
At the end of the week, they will debate legislation addressing issues their communities have identified as being important.
The Bills passed by the Youth Parliament will then be presented to Government representatives for consideration in developing policies.
The participants will also be discussing constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, including the referendum process and work underway to help build public awareness and community support for change.
Constitutional recognition is an important step towards recognising the unique and special place of our first peoples.
The Australian Government is working to lay the necessary foundations for a successful referendum, including through a $10 million investment to build public awareness and community support for recognising Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.
Participants will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic changes that gave Indigenous Australians equal rights to vote and discuss the importance and value of voting in a democracy. In 1962, the Commonwealth Electoral Act was amended to give Indigenous people the right to enrol and vote in Federal elections.
The Australian Government is investing $13.2 million to support the electoral participation of Indigenous Australians so they can have a say on the issues that are affecting their communities.