Two women represent Mayo at Indigenous Youth Parliament

19 Jul 2020

May 25, 2017

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie welcomed not one but two representatives from her electorate at the National Indigenous Youth Parliament this week.

Ashleigh Darrie, 19, of Encounter Bay, and Kaitlin Purcell, 20, of Strathalbyn, were among 50 participants selected by the Australian Electoral Commission for the week-long leadership program.

2017 marks the third National Indigenous Youth Parliament which aims to develop the Indigenous leaders of the future.

The young people are trained in parliamentary processes, meet with Members of Parliament and the Governor-General and participate in a two-day simulated parliament at Old Parliament House.

The youth parliamentarians visited Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday, May 24.

After Mayo had no representatives for the event last year, Ms Sharkie said she was thrilled to learn that two of the six chosen recipients from South Australia were from Mayo.

“Part of my role is nurturing the next generation of leaders so I am proud to be associated with the National Indigenous Youth Parliament,” Rebekha said.

“I am also proud that Mayo is being represented by two young women who are so involved in their communities, and have such extensive backgrounds in community leadership.”

Kaitlin is an Indigenous trainee with the South Australian Police who is studying for a Certificate 3 in Business and wants to become a community constable.

Her passion is AFL and in recent times she has worked with the Great Southern Football League to enable local girls from the age of 10 and above to participate in all female teams.

Kaitlin plays in the senior women’s team for Strathalbyn and coaches the juniors.

“I applied for the youth parliament because I’m interested in learning about Australia’s democracy,” she said.

“It is a chance for me to build networks and meet other young Indigenous people from remote, rural, regional and urban Australia.

“It is an opportunity for us to come together and talk about our future of our communities, to develop awareness about the matters that affect our everyday lives, to make our voice heard and to develop our skills as the Indigenous leaders of the future.”

This year Ashleigh won the Victor Harbor Council’s Young Citizen of the Year Award for her work in the community.

She works for the Alexandrina Council, starting her career as a business administration trainee under a youth program aimed at combatting regional unemployment.

Ashleigh quickly became a role model for the program, advocating its merits and mentoring and inducting Indigenous trainees in the broader region.

Her high level of involvement within the program also saw her speak at the Local Government Association State Conference and other Local Government forums.

Ashleigh received the Ngarrindjeri Nation NAIDOC Female Youth of the Year Award in 2016.

“I applied for the National Indigenous Youth Parliament because I wanted to gain an insight into how the policies of the Government are made,” Ashleigh said.

“That’s why I work in Local Government - I want to go down that path.

“I also want to gain experience in public speaking and I’m looking forward to meeting likeminded people.

“This just might open up some doors in the future.”

Photograph: Indigenous Youth Parliament representatives Ashleigh Darrie, left, and Kaitlin Purcell are pictured with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie, right.

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