AusVotes19:

Meet 10 Indigenous candidates taking the electoral battleground.

By: Jack Latimore, Greg Dunlop
Graphics: Bridget Acreman
Produced: Daniel Gallahar

ANALYSIS: NITV looks at the Indigenous candidates from across the political spectrum running for seats inside the Federal Parliament this Saturday. 

There could be a changing of the old guard in more ways than one as Australia votes on Saturday. While the ‘presidential tussle’ between the Coalition and Labor leaders has captured the narrative throughout the protracted campaign period, political viewers have also witnessed a profusion of parliamentarians (and in the last fortnight a number of parliamentary candidates) ‘snapped’ – to borrow a phrase from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Twenty-three sitting members will disappear from the House, including some of the mightiest and most recognisable names in Bishop, Swan, Pyne, Macklin, and Scullion. Other political avengers will replace them and there is little doubt that new thrilling alliances will swiftly be formed.

Among the legion of old and new aspirants vying for a seat inside The House On The Hill will be a cohort of at least 21 Indigenous candidates, perhaps the most numerous known thus far in the Australian national political universe. Several of their faces (and indeed their work to date) will already be familiar to pollsters. Others will not.

Each will be aiming to join the four Indigenous incumbent parliamentarians in Ken Wyatt, Linda Burney, Malarndirri McCarthy and Pat Dodson on Kurrajong Hill.

Warren Mundine

Mundine is perhaps best known amongst mob as a member of the Bundjalung people (Traditional Owners of lands along the NSW mid north coast) and the former national president of the Labor Party. On Saturday, he dons a new political suit and turns out in LNP colours for the battle for Gilmore, a division located on the NSW south coast. 

Responding to foes who may have suggested he’s been “parachuted in” after LNP pre-selection disputes in the electorate, Mundine has subsequently struck back, revealing he is in fact a member of the Yuin Nation and has always maintained a strong cultural connection to lands within the electoral boundary. 

The seat is a marginal Liberal seat (0.7 per cent) currently held by retiring Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis.

Jana Stewart

A proud Mutthi Mutthi and Wamba Wamba woman, Stewart will attempt the miraculous in the seat of Kooyong in Melbourne’s inner eastern suburbs: a division that has voted Liberal since 1972 and has had just seven members since Federation – all of them conservative. 

The past honour role includes figures such as the fifth chief justice of Australia Sir John Latham; the nation’s longest serving PM, Sir Robert Menzies; and twice leader of the Liberal Party Andrew Peacock.

On this proving ground Stewart will encounter none other than Frydenberg, Treasurer of Australia and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.

Stewart has a background as a family therapist, a university lecturer and a policy expert on Aboriginal affairs. She may need all of those powers to win over Kooyong’s obvious penchant for conservative white male representatives.

The seat is considered by many pundits as a safe gem for the Liberal Party (12.8 per cent).

Susan Moylan-Coombs

A strong First Nations woman and a survivor of the Stolen Generations, Moylan-Coombs is also the granddaughter of the profoundly influential economics advisor and early advocate for Aboriginal rights,  H.C. “Nugget” Coombs. 

As an Independent, Moylan-Coombs will battle the notoriously controversial Special Envoy for Indigenous Affairs, Tony Abbott, and the fellow Indy and former alpine ski queen Zali Stegall for the division of Warringah on Sydney’s northern beaches, a division recently described as the “Stalingrad of Australian politics”.

At the last election, Warringah was held safely by the Libs (11.1 per cent) though political pundits say the incumbent, Tony Abbott, is now faced with the real possibility of “political extinction”. 

Wayne Wharton

Wharton proudly describes himself as a Brisbane Black but is a respected Elder in several locations around the state of Queensland where he will run as an Independent candidate for a Senate seat. 

Wharton is a colossal, dreaded figure on the frontlines of Black rights. Known affectionately as “Coco”, he was a leading figure in the 1982 street demonstrations during the Brisbane Commonwealth Games in efforts to raise awareness about the plight of mob in Joh Bjelke-Peterson’s Uber-conservative reign as the longest-serving Premier of the state. More political resistance in the name of Indigenous advancement continued in the years to come.

Other notable achievements include a role in the founding of the first Aboriginal radio station 4K1G Townsville in 1982, one of the first Black community radio stations in the state; and as an ATSIC regional councillor before that Indigenous representative body was vaporised during the 11-year-rule of Howard.

More recently Wharton has criticised the government position on issues including the cultural contention over January 26 and its response to the Statement from the Heart. 

Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner

A proud Ngarrindjeri Elder, Sumner will run as a Greens candidate for a South Australian senate seat. “Uncle Moogy” previously stood as a candidate in the Super Saturday by-election for the SA seat of Mayo. 

Sumner aims to be the very first First Nations representative from SA to enter Australia’s Federal Parliament.

A lifelong champion for Aboriginal health and welfare, Sumner is also well respected for his role in promoting Aboriginal cultural heritage in SA and beyond.

Major Sumner says he aims to save the Lower Murray-Darling from water pirates and to protect the Great Australian Bight from oil barons.

Jacinta Price

Identifying as a Warlpiri/Celtic woman from Alice Springs, Price has a background in arts and performance, most notably appearing alongside a plushy children’s television character named, Yamba the Honey Ant to promote healthy lifestyle behaviour among Indigenous youth. Price is also a successful singer and songwriter, with a number of tours around the country in her 20-year entertainment career.

More recently, Price has served her community as a councillor on the Alice Springs Town Council and is a renowned campaigner against the scourge of domestic violence towards women and children across Australia.

On Saturday, she will run as a Country Liberals candidate for Lingiari, a division that covers all of the NT outside of Darwin, including Christmas Island and the Cocos Islands which are located off the coast of the continent in the Indian Ocean. It is the second largest electorate in terms of land area and has been represented by the Labor Party’s Warren Snowden since it was created in 2001.

The electorate, named after legendary Aboriginal rights activist Vincent Lingiari, is considered a safe seat for Labor (8.2 per cent).

George Hanna

A Greens candidate, Hanna is also contesting the seat of Lingiari. He describes himself as a newcomer to politics.

Born in Darwin and raised in Batchelor, Hanna has worked in radio and as a teacher and says he is “frustrated at the lack of political will to lift the standards of people living in the area”.

He is the only candidate in the battle for Lingiari to get the thumbs up from political lobby group, GetUp! in five out five hot button social justice issues in the division: these included, First Nations self determination; adequate funding for remote housing; an end to the controversial Community Development Program; action on Deaths in Custody; and an end to the NT Intervention.

Tania Major

Major is a proud Kokoberra woman from the remote community of Kowanyama in Far North Queensland and will run as an ALP candidate for a Queensland senate seat. 

 She is a former Young Australian of the Year (2007) and is widely known for her advocacy and consultancy work in First Nations affairs. At 21-years of age, Major also became the youngest regional councillor in ATSIC history, right before Howard made it history. Major has also worked alongside Noel Pearson within the Cape York Land Council.

A tireless campaigner against domestic violence, Major also aims to continue her work in addressing education and employment barriers facing Aboriginal people in remote communities.

Gary Oliver

A proud Kuku-Yalanji man, Oliver will contest the division of Leichhardt which encompasses Cairns and country across the northern Cape in far north Queensland, as a candidate for the Greens. 

Born in Cairns, Oliver is a former soldier and currently serves as the CEO of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. 

The seat is a is a marginal seat (3.9 per cent) currently held by LNP MP Warren Entsch, although it has not been won by the ALP since the Rudd government swept to power in 2007.

Other notable candidates joining the electorate’s battleground on Saturday include One Nation’s Ross McDonald, who has recently been revealed to have joked about using Aborigines as crocodile bait (amongst other scandals); Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party candidate, Jo Ashby; Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party candidate, Jen Sackley (a former One Nation QLD state candidate); and Bob Katter’s Australian Party candidate, Daniel McCarthy.

Yodie Batzke

Batzke is Clive Palmer’s United Party candidate for a Queensland senate seat and the party’s Indigenous affairs spokewoman. She is also the front-woman for one of Palmer’s conspicuous television advertisements.

Batzke was “born and raised” on Thursday Island and has Torres Strait Islander and Malay heritage. 

She has also claimed she is of Indonesian and Dutch heritage, potentially opening up a hella-can of Chitauri Leviathans under Section 44 of the Australian Constitution as both countries can pass citizenship status on by descent. This would disqualify Batzke from eligibility for election to the Parliament of Australia.

According to the party’s website, Batzke is a religious pastor and an adjunct lecturer in urban planning at James Cook University, however, on Monday the university publicly revealed that Batzke did not work there in that capacity.

Last week, it also emerged that Batzke had posted strong anti-abortion messages to a personal social media account in late January and February, before announcing her candidacy in April. Batzke has previously claimed that abortion rates are “Australia’s great shame”.

Batzke is third on the UAP senate ticket behind Clive Palmer and his swirly-moustachioed Townsville civil engineer Martin Brewster and therefore highly unlikely to also claim a victory.

#ThePoint will be unpacking this year's Federal Election with special guests Linda Burney and Kevin Wyatt tonight 8.30pm on NITV (Ch.34).

For more information visit the AEC Website.