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Taunoa’s time in parliament

Thursday, 5th June, 2014

It wasn’t all dry political argument for Taunoa Bugmy (back, centre) and her team at the National Indigenous Youth Parliament in Canberra. It wasn’t all dry political argument for Taunoa Bugmy (back, centre) and her team at the National Indigenous Youth Parliament in Canberra.

Taunoa Bugmy has just spent a week in parliament in Canberra - the National Indigenous Youth Parliament, that is. 

The youth parliamentarians learn how government works, how laws are made, practice public speaking and learn how to engage the media. 

The program included a two-day simulated parliament in the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House where our young parliamentarians debated bills on matters important to themselves and their community.

“The trip was amazing and really opened our eyes to what the structure and environment is like in parliament,” Taunoa said.

“We had the opportunity to meet people such as Bill Shorten, Ken Wyatt, the American Ambassador John Berry and the Governor General Sir Peter Crosgrove. “The opportunity to share my community’s issues and express my concerns was really important to me and I wish I had longer than three minutes to portray the whole community’s thoughts.

“But I didn’t so I had to try and keep it as simple and straight forward as possible.

Nonetheless, Taunoa said it was all very worthwhile.

“Getting to meet a diverse range of participants with their own issues in regards to suicide, the Northern Territory Intervention, Child Safety and Protection and justice, really opened my eyes and it reinspired me to keep demonstrating leadership in my community and my surrounding communities Wilcannia and Menindee,” she said.

“I guess what I really learnt is that I’m not alone in the fight for equality.”  Taunoa and the other participants were given the opportunity to the debate Bills in parliament.

“I was a part of the refuting team in regards to Indigenous Studies being implemented into Primary School as a compulsory subject, which was difficult considering its something that I would love to see happen,” she said.

“I was able to look at it from both sides and adjust things that would make the Bill better.

“At the end we were able to do a conscience vote. The Bill won over all participants which was great and it has now been passed onto a representative from The House of Senates to be further implemented in real parliament.”

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