Former police officer and women's rights campaigner Dorinda Cox is making history today, becoming Western Australia's first Indigenous female senator.
Sarah Collard

14 Sep 2021 - 1:20 PM  UPDATED 14 Sep 2021 - 1:20 PM

Western Australia will have its first ever Indigenous female representative in the federal senate. 

Yamatji and Noongar woman Dorinda Cox was confirmed in WA's parliament on Tuesday, after she won the Greens' preselection to represent the state.

The senator told NITV news she is proud to represent and advocate for all West Australians and especially Indigenous Australians.

"It's an absolutely great honor to be representing not just First Nations people from Western Australia but all Western Australians here," Dorinda Cox told NITV News.

"It's a first for Western Australia and it's quite an iconic and history-making event."

Ms Cox grew up in Western Australia and had a career in the state's police force, joining as a cadet at just 17 years old. She said being given the opportunity to represent the people in her electorate is a 'dream'.

"I never believed or dreamed that I would be an Australian senator working in the Australian Parliament, so this day is overwhelming," she said. 

Growing cohort of First Nations politicians 

Ms Cox takes the current cohort of First Nations parliamentarians to seven.

She is joining minster for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, Labor's Patrick Dodson, Linda Burney and Malarndiri McCarthy, fellow Greens senator Lydia Thorpe and Jacqui Lambie.

She says the group share "respect and admiration" for each other's work. 

“I hope that we will continue to grow and nurture our respect... to continue that work, and almost reaching across the aisles, regardless of our party preferences and who we represent..."

She said she plans to continue advocating for women's safety issues, in particular calls for a probe into missing and murdered Indigenous women in her home state. 

"I think triggering a senate inquiry into this would actually give significant change to the systems across policing, law reform and other issues that exist here.

"It's been a long time waiting for an inquiry into missing murdered Indigenous women here in Australia given the absolutely unacceptable statistics," Ms Cox said. 

She said another priority for her is pressuring greater protection on cultural heritage in WA, as well as addressing the homelessness crisis. 

She said it is vital parliament fully represents and advocates for the diverse electorates who have elected them.

"When we talk about representation and that reflecting (the) diversity and intersectional issues that happen in our communities — it's so important to make sure that those voices are heard."

The senator replaces Rachel Siewert who has retired after 16 years in the federal parliament and is known for her vocal campaigning on Indigenous issues. 

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