Nova Peris becomes first Indigenous woman in Australia’s federal parliament

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08th September, 2013

PHOTO: Labor Senate NT candidate Nova Peris on election day. (ABC News)

Labor candidate wins Senate seat in Northern Territory, vindicating ‘captain’s pick’ by Julia Gillard.

ABC News reports: The Olympic hockey gold medal winner will take a place in the Senate representing the Northern Territory for Labor.

She gave her victory speech immediately after Luke Gosling conceded in the Darwin-based Lower House seat of Solomon.

Breaking down in front of a crowd of Labor supporters she said: “Wow. Where do I begin?”.

She went on to say the tough contests of Federal politics have the same cruel nature as elite sport.

Referring to her selection for the Hockeyroos in 1996 she said: “You had to give your name and they said yes or no if you’re going to the Olympics.

“I rang through and I said oh it’s Nova Peris and they said yes you’re in.” …

“I thought: ‘Can I do it?’

“Sometimes in life you’ve got to back yourself and I’ve got a bit of a history of backing myself with my sporting career.”

She said she was thrilled to have the confidence of so many people that voted for her.

Ms Peris cast her vote in the election at her old high school, Dripstone High, where the gymnasium is named after her.

She has been campaigning in remote parts of the Northern Territory where she says Indigenous voters have called for more jobs and healthcare.

Ms Peris will start as a Senator straight away and will be sworn in at the next sittings in Canberra.

Nova Peris was Julia Gillard’s ‘captain’s pick’ for the Labor Senate ticket in the Northern Territory. [Photograph: Shane Eecen/AAPImage in The Guardian Australia]

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