In a tearful press conference standing next to Bill Shorten yesterday, Nova Peris defended her decision to resign from Parliament after Caroline Wilson broke the news that Peris was seeking a lucrative new job with the AFL:

“Until you are an Aboriginal person, do not criticise me for the decisions I have made … I may be leaving but I am leaving on my terms and I want to make this clear — no one should judge me.”

With respect, we disagree. Nova Peris is an elected representative and a member of Parliament. She decided to apply for a job in the private sector and blindsided Labor when the news broke. Peris only resigned from her position after Wilson’s article surprised the nation, and she left Labor high and dry in the middle of an election campaign. Nominations don’t close until June 9, so Labor will be able to find a replacement candidate, but the timing is terrible for the party. When asked why she was resigning during an election campaign, rather than pulling a Joe Bullock and giving the party that supported her a bit of notice (and telling voters the reasons for her decision), she snapped, “I didn’t call the election”.

No, but every man, woman, child and dog in Australia has known the election would be July 2 for months. Peris has behaved shoddily towards the people of the Northern Territory, who elected her, and towards the Labor Party, which put its faith in her (dumping a 15-year veteran in the process). And every Australian, regardless of race, has the absolute right to criticise an elected representative for decisions that impact the electorate.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey