• Chansey Paech gave his maiden speech to the NT parliament on Tuesday. (Facebook / Chansey Paech)Source: Facebook / Chansey Paech
"I look forward to the day when this country will recognise my rights as equal rights, when I too can marry in my country, on my country, as a recognised first Australian."
By
Sophie Verass, Ben Winsor

19 Oct 2016 - 5:44 PM  UPDATED 20 Oct 2016 - 10:46 AM

"I am young, I am gay, I am black; a true blue Territorian," newly elected MP for the Northern Territory seat of Namatjira, Chansey Paech, told the territory parliament on Tuesday.

"I am eternally proud of who I am and where I come from, I own it and wear it with pride," Paech said.

Son of an Eastern Arrernte Indigenous mother and a German immigrant father, the 28-year-old previously told SBS that his campaign for Namatjira represented diversity at its best.

The seat encompasses a massive swathe of the Northern Territory’s south-east.

Paech’s win, following the retirement of his aunt – independent MP Alison Anderson – was part of a landslide Labor victory across the territory in August.

Chansey Paech used his maiden speech to advocate for constitutional recognition of Indigenous people and same-sex marriage.

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"I look forward to the day when this country will recognise my rights as equal rights, when I too can marry in my country, on my country, as a recognised first Australian," he said.

Paech previously spoke to SBS about coming out, his sprawling door-to-door campaign and his views on Indigenous recognition.

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“We need to realise - we have a constitution that allows legislation on the basis of race, and I don’t think that should be able to continue,” he told SBS.

“I do support constitutional recognition and I think the flow on from that is a treaty," he said.

Casey Conway, a model and former NRL player, told NITV that he welcomed Paech as a fellow prominent gay Indigenous personality.

“It is timely that an openly gay Aboriginal man has taken on such a leadership role for his community, state and country,” he said.

“His maiden speech was delivered with pride and the acknowledgement of the diversity he represents was empowering,” Conway said, “I’m sure many young Indigenous gay men in NT and around Australia felt the same way.”

Conway says he looks forward to Paech rustling some feathers and helping bring the country up to speed on issues of equality.

Dameyon Bonson, a gay Indigenous mental health advocate from Broome, told NITV that Paech’s win was important for both Indigenous Australians and LGBT+ Australians.

"I think this is some important visibility for the Aboriginal gay community, but also the LGBTQI community at large. Chansey is a trailblazer and demonstrates that anyone - any race, any sexual identity - can be in leadership,” Bonson told NITV.

"But it's not just about his gay identity or his Aboriginal identity. He's a young parliamentarian, and that's also quite significant for our country,” he said.

“I think our young people are very underrated and I think that his work and his presence will encourage a lot of young people to engage with politics. I mean, it's their futures - they're the ones who are affected. And I think it's good to have someone who is a part of that young community deciding Australia's future,” Bonson said.

"It's a really exciting time for Australian politics. We've been getting some really good voices in there like Pat Dodson, Mlarndirri McCarthy, Linda Burney, Ben Wyatt and Ken Wyatt, but I think that Chansey's sexuality adds another dimension to our Australian parliament and our Indigenous representation,” he said.


 

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