A member of the Stolen Generation has launched her campaign to contest the federal seat of Warringah, challenging former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the next federal election.
On Monday, proud Woolwonga and Gurindji woman, Susan Moylan-Coombs, gathered in Mosman with her supporters, outlining her policies and using her platform to speak about Australia Day and what January 26 means for Indigenous people.
“Each Australia Day is like pressing on a bruise for Indigenous people – and the bruise gets darker,” Ms Moylan-Coombs said.
“I hear both sides of politics and their banding around different dates – one date that has been proposed before is the first of January, which is our Federation Day,” she said.
Ms Moylan-Coombs said she thought changing the date would take away the “meaning and divisiveness of January 26”, making it a more inclusive day for all Australians.
An Indigenous woman who has lived in the area over half a century, Ms Moylan-Coombs says she is more “in-touch with the people of the electorate” than its current member, the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
“I know what’s going on, I know the issues – I want us to be future-focused and I want us to be happy living in modern Australia,” she said.
Veteran Journalist and filmmaker, Jeff McMullen was present at the launch and said after 25-years, it was time for a fresh face to represent the people of the Warringah electorate.
“You have to understand the context of our times to see how important her campaign is,” Mr McMullen said.
“Isn’t it the perfect time to have a candidate and a representative that comes up from grass-roots,” he said.
Ms Moylan Coombs outlined some of her policies, from a stronger conversation around January 26, to the push for greater renewable power, and making Manly a solar hub for research and development.
Ms Moylan-Coombs is the granddaughter of HC Coombs, a high-profile public servant and prime ministerial adviser.
Her candidacy will have a strong focus on pushing Indigenous issues to the forefront during her upcoming election campaign, with a particular interest on Mr Abbott’s role as special envoy for Indigenous affairs.
“I acknowledge that over the year he has visited a lot of Indigenous communities. He gets out there among the people. I’m also aware that a lot of communities have closed their doors to him as well,” she said.
Since announcing her candidacy in late December via social media, Ms Moylan-Coombs said she’s received negative comments about her running.