First Aboriginal to become ALP federal MP

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Aboriginal Olympic gold medallist Nova Peris is to become Labor’s first indigenous federal MP. She is set to replace veteran senator Trish Crossin as the ALP Northern Territory senator.

Despite weeks of negotiations, Senator Crossin was only informed on Monday night that she would lose her number one position on the ALP senate ticket. Under normal circumstances the state (or territory) branch of the ALP would decide any such change with a vote. In this case Julia Gillard has decided that the ALP National Executive will take over the process, thus effectively disempowering the NT branch. The executive will oversee the preselection and nominations process. If anyone other than Nova Peris is nominated, then the candidates will be voted on by the 21 members of the executive, ensuring Ms Peris’s victory. The executive does not include any representation from the Northern Territory.

Ms Gillard is taking an important step historically, but many people have questioned the process and likened what she has done to Ms Crossin with what she and her supporters did, on a larger scale, to Kevin Rudd.

The former NT Labor Chief Minister Paul Henderson is in support of Ms Peris and her decision to stand, but said that the NT party should have had a say in the preselection. “We have the rules of the party and the rules are that people do have a vote.”

Opinion – Australians are racist

It seems like we get so bogged down by the minutiae of politics and political correctness in this country that, no matter how many discussions we have, or how many votes we take, nothing changes. So I applaud Julia Gillard for saying enough, and for actually doing something with the power we the people have given her. This change has been too long coming and if we wait for an indigenous Australian to naturally rise through the ranks of politics, we will be waiting a very long time.

And I say that not because I believe Aboriginal people are any less capable of becoming good politicians than anyone else living in Australia, but because I think that secretly (and not so secretly) the majority of Australians are a little bit racist. I also think many of us try to hide it by being politically correct to the point of ridiculousness.

But it seems as though what is happening with Nova Peris is a weird form of reverse racism. Ms Peris is an Aboriginal woman, and many people are rightly afraid that saying anything negative about her could get them spotlighted by the media as a racist. Think about it the other way around: if a long-standing Aboriginal senator was unceremoniously dumped and replaced by an untried Caucasian newcomer, racial equality groups would be screaming bloody murder.

The process by which Ms Peris is being fast tracked to the senate is not in consistent with either the long-established pre-selection process or our sense of a ‘fair go’ but, simply because the candidate is Aboriginal, many seem to be uncomfortable criticising Julia Gillard’s action.

What do you think? Is this a great step forward in Australian political history or should Trish Crossin be claiming unfair dismissal on the grounds of (reverse) racism? After all, if she was Aboriginal, it is difficult to image that Ms Crossin would have been asked to step down.

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97 Comments

Total Comments: 97
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    I think it is wonderful that Nova Peris is to become an ALP Senator. I couldn’t give to hoots about the nay sayers whether they be political or social and the racists can crawl back into the hole in the ground like the trogladytes they are.

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      looks like just another opportunity to bash Julia and generally moan that things are not the way every individual desires. BTW Nova Peris is not just “a personality” look up Wiki and become informed. I am delighted to have a Senator like her.

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    I’m not so sure about Aussies being racist. I tend to think we pick on and make fun of everyone equally! Who would we be without out endless Irish jokes, having a shot at the Kiwi’s over their sheep! We even send ourselves up, along with those who we send up of course. It is just a part of being a true blue Aussie I reckon!!

    As for Nova, well if she does a good job, and Julia’s motives are for real, then I wish her luck. Not so keen on the way she went about ousting yet another pollie (it reeks of Kevin Rudd’s ousting). Maybe she needs some lessons in how to do what, before our great country goes to the dogs much more than it is and has already.

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      Fine to have another Aboriginal candidate that’s all good, whatever the party BUT please do it in the right way, and not with what smacks of deceit and hints of the way Kevin was ousted. The people should be the ones to make the choice in the correct way, and the sitting candidate given a fair go and let the voter decide – did not that used to be the Aussie way!

  3. 0
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    try “FIRST FEMALE aboriginal”!!!!! Neville Bonner gets the “gong” for the first aboriginal!!

  4. 0
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    Talk about reverse racism – the soon we get rid of Gillard the better. How about one rule for ALL and give us all a level playing field.

  5. 0
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    It is a pity that the first Aboriginal Woman to be in the Senate has been placed in this position in such a way. I think it would have been a greater achievement if she had achieved the honour on her own merit.

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      Originally Neville Bonner was not elected but selected by the Liberals to fill a casual vacancy. He later went on to win ‘on his own merits’ at several subsequent elections. Let’s hope Nova Peris does the same. We all start in different ways: it is how we finish that matters.

  6. 0
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    I have always believed that one must EARN what you get in this world . Guess that’s the teachings of my long departed father. Can’t see how this lady has earned this spot in the system.
    However, I wish her well……can’t say the same for Gillard .

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    This says it ALL really. No politicians need to WORK for Australia to ensure that the country is run efficiently!
    ALL you have to be, to make decisions on behalf of ALL of us, is to be a personality!
    Serve a few years and then walk away and we’ll pay you for the rest of your life.
    We desperately NEED people who have proven ability to make decisions for the greater good of Australia.
    Not a token of bestowing an important position, at the cost of another, just to make the numbers up!
    We did not vote for Julia, her own party voted her into power.
    So with this in mind, it looks likes democracy and proven merit is thrown out the window and politicians get to choose politicians.
    Nothing against Nova Peris at all, but after the woeful efforts of a rock star, it makes one wonder when Anthony Mundine will take his place in the Senate?

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      I think Bes it may be a good idea to understand our electoral process.
      “We” do not vote for the office of Prime Minister and yes, her own party did vote her into power. That is our process and is the same if a Coalition party is in government..
      “We” did vote for Julia Gillard in as much the people of here electorate voted for her and again that is our process.

  8. 0
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    I would question Ms Gillard’s motives in this selection. She doesn’t seem to care whose toes she treads on to gain more popularity. I feel sorry for her in a way, but then the ultimate win is hers after she loses the next election.

  9. 0
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    I am confused how in a supposed democracy someone can be ensured a place in the the Senate even if they do not win the majority of votes and in fact could have very few votes but the Labour executive can over-ride the voters choice, presuming the Labour Party win that particular seat otherwise they have no control of selection if a different party win the majority vote.

  10. 0
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    There is no such thing as “reverse racism”, it’s just “racism. This could also have the tag of “tokenism”.

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