Below you will find select quotes from an interview given by the retiring member for Namatjira in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, Alison Anderson, to Rohan Barwick of ABC Local Radio in Alice Springs yesterday (for the full transcript, visit The Northern Myth.)

Anderson has been a member of the NT Legislative Assembly since 2005, representing the electorate of MacDonnell from 2005 to 2012, which was then reconstituted as Namatjira, and which she represented from 2012 up until her retirement now. Anderson has served as a minister for both the Australian Labor Party and Country Liberal Party and been territory leader of the Palmer United Party.

Perhaps more than any other NT politician in recent times, Anderson has been fiercely loyal to her constituents, has steered her own path through the turbulent seas of NT politics and was always — and remains — a political force of nature that only a fool would underestimate or ignore. She will be missed.

On Mick Gooda, co-commissioner for the royal commission into juvenile detention in the NT

“Mick Gooda is a good human being and he is a good bloke … I worked with him in ATSIC [the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission] and he’s a fantastic person.”

On why she has ‘jumped from party to party’ over the years

“I don’t think I’ve jumped at all, Rohan. I think it is the parties moving around … not being loyal to my people. I’ve stayed constantly in the same place. Any party that I’ve joined has moved away from protecting or being honest to my people.”

“[The parties] moved away from protecting my people and the promises that they’ve made to my people. If you have a look at SIHIP [Federal government indigenous housing program], I’ve been vindicated in the whole walk-out of the Labor Party on SIHIP and I will do it again.”

On her legacy

“My legacy with my people Rohan is that, you know, how many funerals I went to, the respect I paid to my law and culture, the respect that I paid to people coming inside my office and if a person was in need of, say getting a ride back to their community I said, ‘No worries, I’ll take you back out there.’ It doesn’t have to be the Taj Mahal. It is all the little things that count.”

“I think [my constituents] got little bits and pieces of some things but they’ve been punished along with me. So every time I walked out of a party — whether it’s the Labor Party or the conservative party — communities in my electorate were punished because of me. So it’s not service delivery based on need, its service delivery based on who represents you.”

On her anointed successor

“[Labor’s Chansey Paech] is an absolutely wonderful human being and he’s going to be a strong advocate for Namatjira and … the same with Scotty [McConnell, Labor candidate] in Stuart — they are two very, very tough candidates and they are good human beings and yes, I support both of them.”

*To read the full transcript, visit The Northern Myth

Peter Fray

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