You might think we’d write today’s editorial on Kevin Rudd quitting politics. After all, we’re unashamed political junkies. You probably are too.
But we’d like to start this edition on another topic, one that has largely faded from sight due to the Rudd drama.
Yesterday the first indigenous woman elected to Australia’s Federal Parliament rose to her feet and gave her maiden speech. For more than a century our Parliament has sat without indigenous women having a voice. Nova Peris, Labor Senator for the Northern Territory, brought an end to that deeply concerning record last night. She is also the first indigenous Labor MP to sit in Federal Parliament.
Peris’ speech is a historic and moving moment in Australian history. It represents a significant step towards better representation for Aboriginal Australians. This moment is long overdue, and it deserves to be celebrated.
So here are some excerpts of Peris’ speech (the full speech is here), and there’s a video link, too. It might be the most important thing you watch today — and that includes anything to do with Kevin Rudd.
“Accolades, achievements and celebrations have been a part of my life. But in my heart, I know that part of my life is virtually meaningless compared to the ability to survive shown by my grandparents and my mother. I cannot even imagine or comprehend how it would have felt to live life during those days. These stories are part of the truth of Australia’s history. It is what it is. The past is the past, and no matter how hard we try we cannot change that history. But let’s start to undo the wrongs with what is right and just …”
“I say this to all of my indigenous brothers and sisters, and to all people — within every one of us, lies the ability to reach deep inside ourselves and draw upon our inherited strength that our ancestors have given us. There lies a spirit that needs to be awakened.”