FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has today congratulated four young locals on their selection for the National Indigenous Youth Parliament 2014.
Mikaela French, 17 (Cairns), Myiesha Yoelu, 16 (Umagico, NPA), Adimin Mooka, 16 (Dauan Island) and Tanisha Pabai, 17 (Boigu Island) will travel to Canberra in May for the week-long program.
“These young women – and their families – must feel very proud of their selection from an outstanding field of 230 applicants,” Mr Entsch said. “The selection recognises their community involvement and leadership potential.
“I think it’s fabulous that they’ve taken the initiative to get involved in a program that is an opportunity of a lifetime.
“Through the youth parliament, they’ll learn from the experts about the parliamentary process and democracy. They’ll also meet young Indigenous Australians from across the country, build networks and hone their skills and confidence as strong advocates for their community.”
NIYP is a week-long leadership program for 50 Indigenous Australians aged 16 to 25. The youth parliamentarians will learn how government works, how laws are made, practice public speaking and engage with the media.
The program includes a two-day simulated parliament in the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House where the youth parliamentarians will debate bills on matters important to themselves and their community.
“It’s estimated that less than half of eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are enrolled to vote,” Mr Entsch said. “The aim of the youth parliament is to help close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage in electoral participation by developing young leaders who are willing to advocate for their community.
“I’m looking forward to welcoming Mikaela, Myiesha, Adimin and Tanisha to Canberra and will hopefully be able to share some tips I’ve learned during 15 years in parliament,” Mr Entsch said.
The National Indigenous Youth Parliament is run by the Australian Electoral Commission in collaboration with the YMCA and Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.
Mikaela French: 17 Cairns
Mikaela is a Torres Strait Islander from Kanimbla Heights. Mikaela has a strong political interest and believes the insight gained from the NIYP, particularly how parliament operates in making new legislation, will assist her journey as an Indigenous advocate. Mikaela is a keen advocate for Indigenous people and passionate about improving opportunities and fighting for recognition in the Constitution. Her goal is to gain entry into Law at the University of Queensland and pursue studies in Native Title or political law.
Myiesha Yoelu: 16 Umagico
Myiesha is from Umagico (Northern Peninsula Area). Currently boarding at Ipswich Girls’ Grammar in Brisbane, Myiesha was selected to represent her school and the Indigenous community at the Indigenous Australian Constitutional Convention and the QATSIF Scholarship breakfast. She is completing a Cert II in Services Consultancy as part of her traineeship with the ANZ bank. Myiesha is committed to gaining qualifications in law that will enable her to address the disparity in participation and outcomes for all Australians. Ultimately, she would like to use her education to conduct a youth empowerment business for Indigenous adolescents in the Cape region.
Adimin Mooka: 16 Dauan Island
Adimin is from Dauan Island in the Torres Strait Islands. She aspires to work in parliament to provide a voice for her community. Adimin is an active member of the Indigenous community, both in and out of school, mentoring younger peers and speaking up for those she represents.
Tanisha Pabai: 17 Boigu Island
Tanisha’s academic and community achievements include the 2010 Walter Nona Scholarship, Excellence in Language and Culture 2010-2013, Torres Strait Youth Award 2012, Cultural Exchange Cambridge 2013, International Women’s Day Award Youth Category 2013 and 2014, Kazi Meta Boarding College Captain 2014, and Tagai Secondary School Traditional Dance coach and captain. Tanisha has participated in the Indigenous Leaders of Tomorrow program. She has received multiple awards recognising her contribution to her community and teaching language and culture. Tanisha is currently studying a Certificate III in Education, after which she will commence an undergraduate degree in Education at James Cook University.