Indigenous candidates seeking seats in Parliament on the rise

Indigenous candidates are expected to seek seats in Federal Parliament in growing numbers, a political expert said Tuesday.

At the last federal election in 2016 a record number of Indigenous candidates stood for Parliament.

The election saw NSW Labor MP Linda Burney become the first Aboriginal woman elected to the House of Representatives.

Others who were successful were WA Labor Senator Patrick Dodson and NT Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, while WA Liberal MP Ken Wyatt retained his seat of Hasluck.

A federal election is next due before mid-May.

Associate Professor Sarah Maddison, of the University of Melbourne’s School of Social and Political Sciences, said she expected the trend to continue.

“I think Indigenous people will continue to stand for election in growing numbers,” she said.

“The number of current Indigenous parliamentarians, their prominence due to the work of the caucus started by Dodson, McCarthy, and Burney, and the ministerial position held by Wyatt, all lend weight to the view that parliamentary representation is powerful.”

“I think the test will be how powerful that really is if, or when, the ALP wins government.”

“Labor still has a binding caucus, which means Indigenous parliamentarians will still have to toe the party line, even if a Shorten government does walk back from their promises.”

By Wendy Caccetta 

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