Roughly fifty young Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people are selected, six from each state and territory and two from the Torres Strait Islands, to come to Canberra for the program. They are selected based on their application, demonstrating their community leadership activities, leadership potential and how they will apply their NIYP experience in their communities.
The program provides expert training in how government works, how laws are made, public speaking and dealing with the media. The youth parliamentarians meet with and learn from the nation’s leaders, Members of Parliament, members of the parliamentary press gallery and Indigenous leaders.
The centrepiece is a two-day simulated parliament in the Museum of Australian Democracy at the Old Parliament House in Canberra where participants will debate bills and issues of importance to their communities.
NIYP is an opportunity for young Indigenous Australians to build networks and meet other young Indigenous Australians from remote, rural, regional and urban settings. It is an opportunity to talk about community issues, to develop awareness about the matters that affect their everyday lives and to make their voice heard. Former youth parliamentarians support and mentor participants.
Past participants have continued their active community leadership and maintain their network through social media.
The first Indigenous youth parliament was held in 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Indigenous Australians gaining the right to vote in federal elections. There have been two further NIYPs, one in 2014 and another in 2017.