Federal Senator Jacqui Lambie declared in her maiden speech to Parliament this week that she is Aboriginal, she spoke to NITV about why she made this inclusion.
The headline grabbing Tasmanian politician joins Nova Peris as one of only two female Indigenous politicians in Parliament.
Traditionally Senators use their maiden speeches to talk about themselves and issues that are important to them, but Senator Lambie surprised her colleagues with her ancestral revelation.
“I acknowledge and pay my respects to Australia's Aboriginal traditional owners. I share their blood, culture and history through my mother's, Sue Lambie's, family. We trace our history over six generations to celebrated Aboriginal chieftain of the Tasmania east coast, Mannalargenna," she told the Parliament.
Senator Lambie has spoken in Parliament before and acknowledged traditional owners, but hasn't revealed her heritage until now.
“I’ve been quite honest about that all along about the Indigenous heritage in my family but it’s not something I go and broadcast out there”, she told NITV.
She said time spent in the Northern Territory had made a lasting impact on her.
“When I was 17 I actually went and lived in Katherine and worked in the Katherine Hotel/Motel there for 12 months… and I could see then that the Indigenous were struggling even from my own eyes at 17,” she said.
Among her concerns in parliament is better recognition for Indigenous people in Australian society and support for Andrew Forrest’s campaign for greater indigenous employment and welfare reform.