• The Greens' Lidia Thorpe is the first Aboriginal woman elected to the Victorian parliament. (AAP)Source: AAP
Lidia Thorpe made history over the weekend as the first Indigenous woman elected to the Victorian Parliament, after a huge swing of 13 per cent away from Labor.
By
Claudianna Blanco, Liz Deep-Jones

Source:
NITV News
20 Nov 2017 - 6:16 PM  UPDATED 20 Nov 2017 - 6:19 PM

It’s a victory that will inspire generations to come.

Following the announcement of the Northcote by-election result on Saturday night, Ms Thorpe addressed cheering supporters.

"We said we'd make history and we did," she said.

"For a kid that left school at 14, I just want to send a message to every kid out there that anything is possible."  

The win followed a swing of more than 10 per cent against Labor, who had held Northcote since the seat was created in 1927.

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"It's been an amazing journey in the last 8 weeks, knocking on thousands of doors, having hundreds of volunteers coming out to support this campaign. It's just been such an amazing experience and I'm really honoured to be the first Aboriginal woman in the Victorian parliament," Ms Thorpe told NITV News.

"As soon as we found out that we'd won, I just had so many messages coming in from Aboriginal people right across the country.

“They're messages of hope, messages of, ‘you know this is a big change not just for Victoria, not just for Northcote, not just for Victoria, but for this country’.  I feel that, people feel that they have hope in this process and we can create change."

Ms Thorpe says she will honour her electorate by focusing on delivering results for priority areas highlighted by the people of Northcote.

"I've promised my electorate what I will do, and that is to fix our public transport and the overcrowding the people are experiencing every day,” she said.  

She also explained that environmental issues rank high on her agenda.

“We've got old growth logging that's happening at a rate of seven MCGs per day … We need the Great Forest National Park, which is 90 minutes from where I'm sitting right now, and also includes old growth forests in East Gippsland, which is my country, Gunnai country.”  

The Gunnai Gunditjimara woman has also said another issue she’s hoping to tackle is the devastating effect that pokies are having in her community. She warns $17 million dollars a year is being spent in her electorate alone into poker machines.

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When asked about other issues that are close to home for Indigenous peoples, she says she will work hard to ensure these voices are heard and understood.

"What brought me to the Greens is the values of the party, the values being aligned to my own and they're around speaking up for the grassroots and protecting country, and I think that the more conversations I'm having with people, our people about this, the more comfortable a lot of our mob is in either supporting this movement or actually coming on board with it," Ms Thorpe told NITV News.

Regarding the push for changing the date of Australia day, Ms Thorpe says she will continue strengthening the advances already made in Victoria.

"We've had three progressive councils already make a decision on coming up with a day that we can all celebrate.

“I think there's a lot of misinformation out there, and a little bit of scaremongering around, you know threatening Australia Day and cancelling it out all together. It's never been about that. It's just about changing it to a day that Aboriginal people are able to celebrate and come together and be a part of,” she added.

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Ms Thorpe also supports an overhaul of the youth detention system in Victoria.

"We've had thousands of people come out and rally for the closure of detention centres for our young people, and we need to continue that. I'll be a strong voice around supporting that move.

"Young people should not be in jails. We need to look at alternatives for our young people. They don't deserve to be locked away and we need to be more progressive about how we're dealing with our young people,” she concluded.

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