Barbara Shaw, a well-known Indigenous activist and leader of the Intervention Rollback Action Group in Alice Springs, said on July 27 that she would stand as a candidate in the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari in the August 21 federal election.
Shaw will stand for the Greens against Labor’s Warren Snowdon, who holds the seat and is federal Indigenous health minister.
A vocal campaigner against the federal government’s intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, Shaw told ABC Alice Springs 783 Mornings show on July 27 that she would focus on “human rights for everyone ... especially when it comes to the rights of Indigenous people”.
Shaw said issues that need to be addressed in remote communities include jobs, roads, housing, and “funding for appropriate programs” in areas of health and education.
Another key issue in Lingiari that Shaw will campaign against is the proposed nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station.
Named after Vincent Lingiari, a Gurindji stockman who led a walk-off of about 200 Aboriginal workers and their families from Wave Hill Station in 1966, the Lingiari electorate covers 99.98% of the Northern Territory excluding the area around Darwin.
It also has the highest proportion of residents of indigenous origin, at 43.5%, according to the 2006 Census.
Indigenous singer-songwriter Warren H. Williams has also been endorsed as the Greens’ Northern Territory Senate candidate.
Williams, a strong opponent of uranium mining and the nuclear waste dump, told ABC News on July 16 that frustration with the two major parties led him to get involved in politics.
Shaw and Williams are among a range of progressive Indigenous candidates that will contest the upcoming federal election. These include the Sam Watson in Queensland and Sharon Firebrace in Victoria who are standing for the Socialist Alliance in the Senate.
Activists from the recently unified Ecological, Social Justice, Aboriginal Party (ESJAP) and the First Nations Political Party (FNPP) will also contest the elections. They will stand as independents as the party is still seeking electoral registration.
FNPP leader and executive member of the Central Land Council Maurie Ryan has said the unified party would be “the biggest threat to racism in this country”.