• Adam Goodes: Made healines for all the wrong reasons. (Getty Images Asia Pacific)Source: Getty Images Asia Pacific
From the historic first of Ken Wyatt's entry into federal cabinet to the hugely controversial 'lifestyle choices' comment by Tony Abbott, 2015 was a politically charged year for Indigenous Australia. NITV's political correspondent Myles Morgan sums it up.
By
NITV

4 Jan 2016 - 4:30 PM  UPDATED 4 Jan 2016 - 6:38 PM

AFL legend Adam Goodes and his war dance

Andyamathanha and Narungga Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes encountered a torrent of criticism after celebrating a goal by performing an Indigenous war dance in May that some deemed threatening.

Goodes questioned whether it was racially motivated. "If we're telling our people out there that you can't represent your culture or represent where you come from, in around specifically acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, what are we saying?," Mr Goodes told national media.

In July, Adam Goodes again copped public abuse when he was booed by a crowd during a game against the West Coast Eagles in Perth, which spiralled into a nation-wide debate over race.

Aboriginal communities branded a ‘lifestyle choice’

Former prime minister Tony Abbott described the decision of Indigenous people to live in remote Indigenous communities a "lifestyle choice" in May, which sent both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities into an uproar with protests against potential closures here and abroad.

The protests came after the Western Australian government flagged the closure of up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities in 2014 after the federal government announced it would no longer fund them.

Julieka Dhu dies in custody

The family of 22-year-old Julieka Dhu who died in custody in Perth in Western Australia continued to fight for justice throughout 2015.

Ms Dhu died in a South Hedland lock up after being arrested and detained over outstanding fines of about $1,200. 

The family and the community called for answers from the Western Australian government.

In November a coronial inquest found she died in custody from pneumonia and septicaemia.

The CCTV vision presented to the inquiry showed Ms Dhu moaning with pain. When she was questioned by police to rate its severity, MS Dhu replied that it was equal to 10 out of 10.

Sean Harris, Ms Dhu’s uncle, told NITV, "something has got to come out of this inquest, something workable, and something that will contribute to the truth and justice for Julieka, not for us, but for Julieka, to be able to rest in peace."

Ken Wyatt appointed Australia's first Indigenous frontbencher in Federal Parliament

In September, newly appointed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Ken Wyatt would take up the role of assistant health minister, thus becoming Australia's first Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Federal Government frontbencher.

The member for Hasluck, Western Australia, was a senior bureaucrat in the health and education sectors before he entered Federal Parliament in 2010.

He accepted Mr Turnbull’s invitation after a leadership spill where former prime minister Tony Abbott was ousted and Mr Turnbull was voted in as leader of the Liberal Party.

Constitution recognition of Indigenous people debate ramps up

The Referendum Council met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten for the first time in December to discuss potentially amending the Constitution to recognise Indigenous Australians.

Some Australians believe that holding a referendum to decide on an amendment would not accurately reflect what the Indigenous community want because they only make up 2 percent of the country’s population.

The Indigenous Council is expected to report in mid-2016 on steps towards a referendum.