In her first speech to the NSW Parliament, newly elected Greens MLC Dawn Walker called for a discussion about having dedicated seats in the NSW Upper House for Aboriginal people to ensure direct representation in the NSW Parliament.
Ms Walker said:
“I would love to see more Aboriginal representation in this Parliament. Linda Burney has been the only Aboriginal member of the New South Wales Parliament and with her departure for Federal politics we again have no Aboriginal representatives.”
“New Zealand has had dedicated Maori seats since 1867. They have a treaty, yet in this country we are still dealing with the consequences of terra nullius. We should consider establishing dedicated seats in this Chamber for Aboriginal people elected by Aboriginal people.”
“In 1998 the Standing Committee on Social Issues held an inquiry into enhancing Aboriginal political representation, including introducing dedicated seats. Unfortunately, not much has progressed since then. I would like us to resume the discussion about facilitating Aboriginal representation in our political system to ensure that Aboriginal people and their communities have a direct voice in our democracy.”
“I intend to consult and work with Aboriginal people about this and will work in this place to put this conversation back on the agenda, perhaps working towards a referendum at the next State election.”
Ms Walker’s full inaugural speech is available online at https://youtu.be/NtWTWS2cYyo