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Community & Business

14 January, 2022

New political party to vie for Senate seat

A NEW political party has been registered and has signalled its intention to vie for a Senate seat for Queensland at this year’s Federal election.

Convenor Uncle Owen Whyman is celebrating the registration of the Indigenous-Aboriginal Party of Australia, also known as the Indigenous Party of Australia. 

“It's been a long hall to registration but thanks to many kind Australians, both indigenous and non-indigenous, and to a great team of office volunteers, we finally made it!” he said. 

“Now the fun begins, if you can call it that. Even just getting registered was such an eye opening experience. Hundreds of Indigenous people, especially in region’s like Broken Hill, Mildura and Wilcannia, signed up straight away only to realise they could not join the Party because they were not on the electoral roll. 

“We spoke to the mob about this and discovered many are terrified of every form that asks for their address. They fear this makes it easier for their kids to be taken away and placed in institutions, or for the police to find them and put a loved one in jail. 

“Given we are living through the second stolen generation, their fears are understandable,” he said. 

Uncle Owen says there are a number of issues the Party will focus on. 

“Another cry we hear from all indigenous people and a good many non-indigenous people is Treaty. We need a treaty. Indigenous people all around the world have one, but not here in Australia. The voice to Parliament has gone nowhere. All the more reason, we need a treaty,” he said. 

Lawrence Brookes, who hopes to run on the Senate ticket with Uncle Owen, said while the Party hoped to make its presence felt in New South Wales and Queensland in the next election, other states such as Western Australia would have to wait. 

“Covid has made getting around the country pretty hard. We may not get to WA at all, though indigenous people get a rough run in that State,” he said. 

He said changes to the way power was given to land councils throughout the country was also necessary. 

“Land Councils are given the power, rather than the traditional custodians, and that is wrong. Then Land Councils are encouraged by State Governments to sell off the land, without the consent of the traditional custodians,” Mr Brookes said.

“Sacred sites are another problem all around Australia. In NSW, they are ready to trash hundreds of sites that we know of next year either for mining, forestry or housing. The average person does not realise that most governments in Australia treat our sacred spaces with contempt. It's all about money.” 

Uncle Owen says he will also fight for the Federal Government to intervene in State education practices. 

“Thousands of indigenous kids refuse to go to school every day, as they do not see their local school as Indigenous friendly, or the various curriculums as remotely applicable to them. Even though some schools have tried to incorporate Indigenous programs,” he said. 

“We would like Indigenous school education taken off the States and given to a federal body which works closely with an Indigenous Board in each state. Every kid, who does not go to school, eventually costs the government money, because they often end up in trouble. Let indigenous people control indigenous school education everywhere in Australia.”

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