Aboriginal timeline: Politics

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2011

  1. The Australian Capital Territory gets its first Aboriginal politician when Gamilaroi man Chris Bourke is elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly. Mr Bourke is the son of Prof Colin Bourke, the first Aboriginal person to qualify as a dentist.

  2. Gamilaroi man Chris Bourke becomes the ACT’s first Aboriginal government minister, taking on the portfolios of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, education and training.

2012

  1. Several Aboriginal politicians are elected to the  Northern Territory Legislative Assembly:

    • Bess Price (Country Liberal Party), representing the seat of Stuart.
    • Francis Kurrupuwu (Country Liberal Party), representing the seat of Arafura.
    • Larisa Lee (Country Liberal Party), representing the seat of Arnhem.
    • Ken Vowles (Territory Labor), representing the seat of Johnston.

2013

  1. Josephine (Josie) Farrer (Australian Labor Party) is elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, representing the seat of Kimberley in Western Australia. Jacqui Lambie (Palmer United Party) is elected Senator for Tasmania.

  2. The Northern Territory Country Liberal Party elects Gamilaroi man Adam Giles (Country Liberal Party) as Chief Minister. He is the first Aboriginal person to head an Australian government.

  3. The Western Australian government replaces the word ‘Indigenous’ with the word ‘Aboriginal’ in their official documents, and also changes the “Department of Indigenous Affairs” to the “Department of Aboriginal Affairs”.

  4. Kevin Rudd becomes Prime Minister (again).

  5. The Victorian Government appoints Aboriginal man Andrew Jackomos as Victoria’s - and Australia’s - first Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Youth. The appointment of an Aboriginal children’s commissioner was one of the recommendations arising out of the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry.

  6. Tony Abbott becomes Prime Minister of Australia. His Aboriginal policy declares that “Australia will, in effect, have a prime minister for indigenous affairs and a dedicated indigenous affairs minister.”

  7. Nova Peris (Australian Labor Party) becomes Senator for the Northern Territory and the first Aboriginal woman to enter federal parliament.

2014

  1. The government proposes legislation to repeal some parts of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act which were used to sue Andrew Bolt for racially vilifying fair-skinned Aboriginal people. After massive protests from all sections of the community it drops its proposal in August.

  2. The Australian government axes more than $534 million dollars from Aboriginal programmes in the federal budget. It cuts more than $160 million from Aboriginal health programmes.

  3. Prime Minister Tony Abbott spends a week at Gulkula in north-east Arnhem Land, meeting Aboriginal leaders and community members and running the country from his campsite. He is accompanied by other ministers and a team of bureaucrats.

  4. Gough Whitlam dies aged 98. Gurindji Elder, Michael George, commented, “As a mark of respect, Gurindji people will now refer to this man as ‘kulum Whitlam’... This great man helped us get better wages, health, education and housing, and most importantly, gave us our land back.” In 1975, Whitlam returned their land to the Gurindji.

2015

  1. Joanna Lindgren (Liberal National Party) is appointed a Senator by the Parliament of Queensland.

  2. Leeanne Enoch (Australian Labor Party) is the first Aboriginal female elected to the Queensland Legislative Assembly, representing the seat of Algester in Queensland. Leeanne has since been appointed the Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Science and Innovation in Queensland.

  3. William (Billy) Gordon (Australian Labor Party) is elected to the Queensland Legislative Assembly, representing the seat of Cook in Queensland.

  4. Nunukul-Nughi woman Leeanne Enoch is set to become the first Aboriginal woman elected to Queensland Parliament.

  5. Malcolm Turnbull becomes Australia’s 29th Prime Minister, after launching an all-or-nothing leadership challenge against Tony Abbott, the self-declared “prime minister for indigenous affairs”.

  6. West Australian Aboriginal MP Ken Wyatt becomes the first Aboriginal Member of Parliament to reach the frontbench working as Assistant Health Minister.

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2020, Aboriginal timeline: Politics, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australian-aboriginal-history-timeline/politics?page=7>, retrieved 25 October 2020

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