Recognised as one of Australia's most decorated athletes, Labor Senator Nova Peris used her maiden speech in the Senate to say she would give up her accolades "in a heartbeat" to see Indigenous Australians free, healthy and able to participate fully in their nation's destiny.
With three generations of family present, the proud Kiga/Yawuru/Muran woman from NT walked into the Senate, her face painted in ochre and wearing a gold silk outfit featuring dancing brolgas.
'I am immensely proud of who I am and where I hail from. It is majestic.'
While acknowledging the "odds are stacked" against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia, Peris said she was committed to exposing those "totally unscrupulous people" who try to use Indigenous peoples to promote their own agendas.
"Should I see this happen, I will call it for what it is. It's racism - and I know that's confronting - but I will not stand by in silence," she said.
"It is my dream to see kids from Santa Theresa, from Gunbalanya, from Kalkarindji and the Tiwi Islands all with the same opportunity as the kids from the eastern suburbs of Sydney."
Thanking ex-Prime Minister Julia Gillard "from the bottom of my heart" for backing her campaign in politics, she said, "my duty now is to work hard and make a real difference."
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