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Indigenous youth having a say

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August 04, 2017

A yarning circle was formed in Seymour for NAIDOC Week, celebrating the 2017 National Indigenous Youth Parliament (NIYP) and to discuss Indigenous electoral participation.

Australian Electoral Commission staff were joined by 2017 NIYP Parliamentarian and Miss NAIDOC 2017 runner-up Ruby Herrmann, and local elder Alice Solomon and her husband Jack.

The AEC’s divisional office manager for McEwen Kellie Melville said the passion among the group for increasing Indigenous participation at the next federal election was inspiring.

‘‘Although Ruby and Alice came from different traditional areas, and different generations, they had a lot in common — from a strong artistic talent to a shared passionate belief that Indigenous people should all be engaged with the democratic process,’’ Ms Melville said.

Aunty Alice remembered the 1967 referendum and how hard her generation fought for the right to vote, and shared her story as one of the stolen generation.

Ms Herrmann spoke about how much she valued her time at the NIYP — not just the democratic experience but the strong bond the group of young Indigenous leaders forged.

A common theme to the discussion was the electoral engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with a particular focus on encouraging more Indigenous young people to register to work in polling places on election day.

You can register now to help your community to have a say in Australia’s future.

Visit www.aec.gov.au/ Indigenous or phone 132326.

If you wish, you can ask to be put through to an AEC indigenous and community engagement officer.

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