Flat White

The proud, progressive record of the Bandtifa and Indigenous representation in parliament. Not

20 June 2020

3:45 PM

20 June 2020

3:45 PM

1971: Neville Bonner, an elder of the Jagera people, is appointed by the Queensland parliament to fill a Liberal casual vacancy in the Senate. He later became the first Indigenous Australian to be elected to the parliament by popular vote. He serves in the Senate until 1983

1998: Aden Ridgeway is elected as a senator for New South Wales, the first Indigenous Australian Democrats parliamentarian. He loses his position at the 2004 election.

2010: Ken Wyatt is elected as the Liberal member for the Western Australian seat of Hasluck, the first Indigenous person elected to the Australian House of Representatives.

2013: Nova Peris becomes Australia’s first Indigenous woman parliamentarian and first Indigenous Labor parliamentarian when she is elected as a senator for the Northern Territory. She serves until the 2016 poll.


2015: Joanna Lindgren becomes the first Indigenous Coalition woman in the Senate when she is appointed by the Queensland parliament to fill an LNP casual vacancy. She is defeated in the double dissolution the following year.

2015: Wyatt is appointed assistant minister for health, making him the first Indigenous frontbencher in federal parliament.

2016: Pat Dodson becomes the first Indigenous Labor member of the Senate when he is appointed by the parliament of WA to fill a casual vacancy.

2016: Linda Burney becomes the first Indigenous woman member of the House of Representatives when she is elected as the Labor MP for the NSW seat of Barton.

2019: Wyatt is appointed Minister for Indigenous Australians in the Second Morrison Ministry, the first Indigenous person to hold the position and the first Indigenous member of the Cabinet.

2020: Almost half a century after Bonner and the Liberals and more than two decades after the party they displaced from the Senate crossbenches, the Democrats, the very white Greens finally put their money where their (big, yapping) mouths are.

Illustration: Australian Greens.

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