• From left clockwise: Warren Mundine, Linda Burney, Tammy Solonec, Carol Martin, Pat Dodson, Nova Peris, Jo Lindgren, Ken Wyatt. Picture AAP/NITV/Getty (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The Prime Minister’s top Indigenous adviser says more Indigenous candidates are needed, but is adamant there shouldn’t be a quota system.
By
Myles Morgan

20 Apr 2016 - 6:16 PM  UPDATED 20 Apr 2016 - 6:24 PM

It's day three of what’s expected to be a long and gruelling election campaign ahead of an expected July election.

With so much time until Australia votes, Warren Mundine is urging Indigenous Australians to consider a political career.

“A few years ago, we were really struggling with getting Indigenous people in the parliament and all of a sudden, in the last three to four years, it has just taken off,” he told NITV.

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Labor alone has three candidates in the election: Linda Burney for the Sydney seat of Barton, Tammy Solonec and Carol Martin for the Western Australian seats of Swan and Durack.

If they’re all successfully elected, it’ll nearly double the number of Indigenous politicians in parliament.

They will be aiming to join Northern Territory Labor Senator Nova Peris, Liberal Senator Jo Lindgren (the grandniece of Neville Bonner), and Lower House MP Ken Wyatt, the first Indigenous person to enter the House of Representatives.

Senior Yawuru leader Pat Dodson is also expected to be sworn in soon as a Western Australian Labor senator to fill a casual vacancy.

“The good news for us is it’s both sides of politics so whoever wins the election, we will have Indigenous people within the government,” Mr Mundine said.

Currently the head of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Mr Mundine also became the first Indigenous president of the Labor Party in 2006.

Fewer votes required to become a Senator

With the expected double dissolution election to be held in July, it will mean candidates need only 7.7 per cent of the votes in their electorate to earn a seat in the Senate.

It’s technically easier than a normal election, but Warren Mundine told The Point there should be no free tickets into politics.

“I’ve always argued that you can’t look at seats as identified for a certain group of people,” he said referring to quotas for Indigenous politicians.

“You need to be contestable in the marketplace out there for elections. In Australia, you’ve got to represent all the viewpoints of all the electors out there.”