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Indigenous Australian parliamentarians in federal and state/territory parliaments: a quick guide



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RESEARCH PAPER SERIES, 2020-21 UPDATED 15 JUNE 2021

Indigenous Australian parliamentarians in federal and state/territory parliaments: a quick guide Lisa Richards Politics and Public Administration Section

This Quick Guide provides information about Indigenous Australian parliamentarians in federal and state/territory parliaments. For the purposes of this Quick Guide, ‘Indigenous parliamentarian’ refers to a parliamentarian who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or as having Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ancestry.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this Quick Guide, it cannot be guaranteed to be comprehensive. The Parliamentary Library would appreciate receiving any additional information or amendments that would assist in compiling future updates.

This Quick Guide lists the name, party, chamber, state/electorate, dates in office, identity (where readily available) and significant firsts. This information is compiled from a range of publicly available sources including the Commonwealth Parliamentary Handbook, The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate, the websites of Australian state and territory parliaments, political websites and personal biographies. Additionally, we are grateful to the state and territory parliamentary libraries for their assistance in compiling this Quick Guide.

Indigenous Australian parliamentarians in federal and state/territory parliaments: a quick guide 2

Party and chamber abbreviations AD Australian Democrats

ALP Australian Labor Party

CLP Country Liberal Party

GRN Australian Greens

IND Independent

JLN Jacqui Lambie Network

LIB Liberal Party of Australia

LNP Liberal National Party

NP National Party

PUP Palmer United Party

Chambers

HA House of Assembly

LA Legislative Assembly

LC Legislative Council

Reps House of Representatives

Indigenous Australian parliamentarians in federal and state/territory parliaments: a quick guide 3

Indigenous Australian federal parliamentarians As of June 2021, the 46th Parliament includes six parliamentarians who identify as Indigenous or as having Indigenous heritage—two members of the House of Representatives and four senators:

• Linda Burney, MP (ALP, Barton, NSW)

• Ken Wyatt, MP (LIB, Hasluck, WA)

• Senator Pat Dodson (ALP, WA)

• Senator Jacqui Lambie (JLN, Tas.)

• Senator Malarndirri McCarthy (ALP, NT) and

• Senator Lidia Thorpe (GRN, Vic.).

Significant firsts • Neville Bonner (LIB; IND, Qld) was the first Indigenous member of any Australian parliament,

appointed to the Senate on 11 June 1971.

• Ken Wyatt (LIB, Hasluck, WA) was the first Indigenous member of the House of

Representatives, elected on 21 August 2010. He is also the first Indigenous person to hold assistant ministerial, ministerial, and Cabinet roles in the Australian Government:

- Assistant Minister for Health, appointed 30 September 2015

- Minister for Aged Care, appointed 24 January 2017 and

- (Cabinet) Minister for Indigenous Australians, appointed 29 May 2019.

• Nova Peris (ALP, NT) was the first Indigenous Australian woman elected to the Senate in 2013.

• Linda Burney (ALP, Barton, NSW) was the first female Indigenous Australian elected to the

House of Representatives on 2 July 2016.

• David Kennedy (ALP, Bendigo, Vic.) was the first Indigenous Australian to be elected to both a

state/territory parliament and the federal parliament. He was first elected at a by-election as the ALP member for Bendigo in the House of Representatives in 1969 and served until his defeat at the 1972 federal election. In 1982 he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly, serving for approximately 10 years. Kennedy’s Indigenous heritage was unknown when he entered both parliaments nor did he self-identify as Indigenous at that time. For these reasons Neville Bonner is recorded as the first Indigenous parliamentarian.

• Linda Burney (ALP, Barton, NSW) and Malarndirri McCarthy (ALP, NT) are the first Indigenous

women to be elected to both a state/territory parliament and the federal parliament. They served in the New South Wales and Northern Territory parliaments, respectively, prior to both being elected to the Federal Parliament on 2 July 2016.

• Aden Ridgeway (AD, NSW) was the first Aboriginal person to use an Australian Indigenous

language in the Federal Parliament. In his first speech to the Senate delivered on 25 August 1999, he stated:

On this special occasion, I make my presence known as an Aborigine and to this chamber I say, perhaps for the first time: Nyandi baaliga Jaingatti. Nyandi mimiga Gumbayynggir. Nya jawgar yaam Gumbayynggir. Translated, it means: My father is Dhunghutti. My mother is Gumbayynggir. And, therefore, I am Gumbayynggir.

Indigenous Australian parliamentarians in federal and state/territory parliaments: a quick guide 1

Table 1: list of Indigenous Australian federal parliamentarians, by date first elected Name Party Chamber Division/State Dates in office Identity1

Andrew (David) Kennedy ALP Reps Bendigo (Vic.) *7.6.1969-2.12.1972 defeated

Neville Bonner LIB; IND from

February 1983 Senate Qld *11.6.1971-4.2.1983 defeated Jagera

Aden Ridgeway AD Senate NSW ^1.7.1999-30.6.2005 defeated Gumbaynggirr

Kenneth (Ken) Wyatt LIB Reps Hasluck (WA) 21.8.2010-current Noongar, Yamatji and Wongi

Nova Peris ALP Senate NT 7.9.2013-9.5.2016 resigned Gija, Yawuru and Iwatja

Jacquiline (Jacqui) Lambie PUP; IND from November 2014; JLN from May 2015

Senate Tas. #1.7.2014-14.11.2017 resigned**

1.7.2019-current

Joanna Lindgren LIB Senate Qld *21.5.2015-9.5.2016 defeated Mununjali and Jagera

Patrick (Pat) Dodson ALP Senate WA *28.4.2016-current Yawuru

Linda Burney ALP Reps Barton (NSW) 2.7.2016-current Wiradjuri

Malarndirri McCarthy ALP Senate NT 2.7.2016-current Yanyuwa and Garrawa

Lidia Thorpe GRN Senate Vic. *4.9.2020-current Djab Wurrung, Gunnai and

Gunditjmara

Source: Compiled by the Parliamentary Library. *Selected under Section 15 of the Australian Constitution in the Senate or at a by-election in the House of Representatives. ^Aden Ridgeway was elected to the Senate 3.10.1998, his term began 1.7.1999. #Jacqui Lambie was elected to the Senate 7.9.2013, her term began 1.7.2014. **Jacqui Lambie resigned on 14.11.2017 and was subsequently disqualified by the High Court on 8.12.2017, pursuant to section 44(i) of the Constitution.

1 The spelling is sourced from Hansard records. The AIATSIS Austlang thesaurus provides alternative spellings.

Indigenous Australian parliamentarians in federal and state/territory parliaments: a quick guide 1

Indigenous Australian state/territory parliamentarians

Significant firsts • Hyacinth Tungutalum (CLP, NT Legislative Assembly) was the first Indigenous Australian elected

to a state/territory parliament in October 1974.

• Carol Martin (ALP, WA Legislative Assembly) was the first female Indigenous Australian elected

to any Australian parliament in February 2001.

• Ernie Bridge (ALP; IND, WA Legislative Assembly) was the first Indigenous Australian to hold a

ministerial role and Cabinet position in any Australian government in July 1986 as Minister for Water Resources, the North-West and Aboriginal Affairs.

• Marion Scrymgour (ALP; IND; ALP, NT Legislative Assembly) was the first female Indigenous

Australian to hold a ministerial position in December 2003 as Minister for Family and Community Services, and Environment and Heritage. On 26 November 2007 (p. 20) she was appointed Deputy Chief Minister of the NT, becoming (at that time) the highest-ranked Indigenous parliamentarian in Australian history.

• Adam Giles (CLP, NT Legislative Assembly) was the first (and so far, only) Indigenous Australian

head of government, serving as Chief Minister of the NT from 14 March 2013 to 27 August 2016.

• Chansey Paech (ALP, NT Legislative Assembly) was the first Indigenous Australian appointed as

Speaker of any Australian parliament in June 2020, shortly before the 2020 NT election.

• Ngaree Ah Kit (ALP, NT Legislative Assembly) was the first female Indigenous Australian

appointed as Speaker of any Australian parliament in October 2020.

The information in Table 2 is derived from state/territory parliament websites, as such the data has not been standardised. The following parliamentarians are listed under each state/territory in order of date first elected.

Indigenous Australian parliamentarians in federal and state/territory parliaments: a quick guide 2

Table 2: list of state/territory Indigenous Australian parliamentarians, by state/territory

Northern Territory2 (22 parliamentarians) Name Party Chamber (Division) Dates in office

Hyacinth Tungutalum CLP LA (Tiwi) 19.10.1974-13.8.1977 resigned

Neville Perkins ALP LA (Macdonnell) 13.8.1977-6.3.1981 resigned

Wesley Lanhupuy ALP LA (Arnhem) 3.12.1983-25.8.1995 resigned

Stanley Tipiloura ALP LA (Arafura) 7.3.1987-20.9.1992 died in office

Maurice Rioli ALP LA (Arafura) *7.11.1992-17.8.2001 resigned

John (Jack) Ah Kit ALP LA (Arnhem) *7.10.1995-17.6.2005 resigned

Marion Scrymgour ALP; IND from June 2009; ALP from August 2009

LA (Arafura) 18.08.2001-24.8.2012 resigned

Elliot McAdam ALP LA (Barkly) 18.8.2001-8.8.2008 resigned

Matthew Bonson ALP LA (Millner) 18.8.2001-8.8.2008 defeated

Malarndirri McCarthy ALP LA (Arnhem) 18.6.2005-24.8.2012 defeated

Alison Anderson ALP; IND from August 2009; CLP from September 2011; PUP from April 2014; IND from November 2014

LA (Macdonnell) LA (Namatjira) 18.6.2005-24.8.2012 25.8.2012-26.8.2016 resigned

Karl Hampton ALP LA (Stuart) *23.9.2006-24.8.2012 defeated

Adam Giles CLP LA (Braitling) 9.8.2008-26.8.2016 defeated

Francis Kurrupuwu CLP; PUP from April 2014; CLP from September 2014

LA (Arafura) 25.8.2012-26.8.2016 defeated

Kenneth (Ken) Vowles ALP LA (Johnston) 25.8.2012-31.1.2020 resigned

Larisa Lee CLP; PUP from May

2014; IND from November 2014

LA (Arnhem) 25.8.2012-26.8.2016 defeated

Bess Price CLP LA (Stuart) 25.8.2012-26.8.2016 defeated

Lawrence Costa ALP LA (Arafura) 27.8.2016-current

Selena Uibo ALP LA (Arnhem) 27.8.2016-current

2. Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, Members of the Legislative Assembly: 1st Assembly 1974 to 13th Assembly, updated 21 August 2020.

Indigenous Australian parliamentarians in federal and state/territory parliaments: a quick guide 3

Ngaree Ah Kit ALP LA (Karama) 27.8.2016-current

Chanston (Chansey) Paech ALP LA (Namatjira)

LA (Gwoja)

27.8.2016-21.8.2020 22.8.2020-current

Yingiya (Mark) Guyula IND LA (Mulka) 27.8.2016-current

Queensland (five parliamentarians) Name Party Chamber (Division) Dates in office

Eric Deeral NP LA (Cook) 7.12.1974-12.11.1977 defeated

Leeanne Enoch ALP LA (Algester) 31.1.2015-current

William (Billy) Gordon ALP; IND from March 2015 LA (Cook) 31.1.2015-24.11.2017 resigned

Cynthia Liu ALP LA (Cook) 25.11.2017-current

Lance McCallum ALP LA (Bundamba) 28.3.2020-current

Victoria (four parliamentarians) Name Party Chamber (Division) Dates in office

Cyril Kennedy ALP LC (Waverley) 5.5.1979-2.10.1992 defeated

Andrew (David) Kennedy

ALP LA (Bendigo)

LA (Bendigo West) 3.4.1982-1.3.1985 2.3.1985-2.10.1992 defeated

Lidia Thorpe GRN LA (Northcote) 18.11.2017-19.12.2018 defeated

Sheena Watt ALP LC (Northern

Metropolitan) 13.10.2020-current

Western Australia (seven parliamentarians) Name Party Chamber (Division) Dates in office

Ernest (Ernie) Bridge ALP; IND from July 1996 LA (Kimberley) 23.2.1980-10.2.2001 resigned

Carol Martin ALP LA (Kimberley) 10.2.2001-9.3.2013 resigned

Benjamin (Ben) Wyatt ALP LA (Victoria Park) *11.3.2006-13.3.2021 resigned

Josephine (Josie) Farrer ALP LA (Kimberley) 9.3.2013-13.3.2021 resigned

Zak Kirkup LIB LA (Dawesville) 11.3.2017-13.3.2021 defeated

Divina D’Anna ALP LA (Kimberley) 13.3.2021-current

Rosetta Shahanna ALP LC (Mining and

Pastoral)

22.5.2021-current

Indigenous Australian parliamentarians in federal and state/territory parliaments: a quick guide 4

Tasmania (three parliamentarians) Name Party Chamber (Division) Dates in office

Andrew (Paul) Harriss IND; LIB from March 2014 LC (Huon) HA (Franklin)

25.5.1996-24.2.2014 30.3.2014-18.2.2016 resigned

Kathryn Hay ALP HA (Bass) 20.7.2002-18.3.2006 resigned

Jennifer Houston ALP HA (Bass) 3.3.2018-1.5.2021 defeated

New South Wales (four parliamentarians) Name Party Chamber (Division) Dates in office

Linda Burney ALP LA (Canterbury) 22.3.2003-6.5.2016 resigned

Lynda Voltz ALP LC

LA (Auburn)

24.3.2007-28.2.2019 23.3.2019-current

Jai Rowell LIB LA (Wollondilly) 26.3.2011-17.12.2018 resigned

Gregory (Greg) Warren

ALP LA (Campbelltown) 28.3.2015-current

Australian Capital Territory (one parliamentarian) Name Party Chamber (Division) Dates in office

Christopher (Chris) Bourke ALP LA (Ginninderra) 2.6.2011-14.10.2016 defeated

South Australia (one parliamentarian) Name Party Chamber (Division) Dates in office

Kyam Maher ALP LC 17.10.2012-current

Source: Compiled by the Parliamentary Library.

*By-election.

Note 1: retired parliamentarians are listed as ‘resigned’.

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