Indigenous Party of Australia supports campaign to improve NT voting rates
[by Gab McInosh]
Uncle Owen Whyman of Wilcannia, NSW, and his son, Rally. Image: supplied
The convenor of the proposed Indigenous Party of Australia, Uncle Owen Whyman, announced that he stands firm with the Indigenous mob in the Northern Territory who are fighting for the right to vote at State and Federal elections.
"We are having trouble with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) too. We have been trying to get registered as a political party for the last 4 months and we are still struggling. We have people who have worked for universities helping us, but even that level of expertise does not seem to cut it. We keep coming up against bureaucrats that give us unhelpful responses. Finally, this week we got through the first hurdle of membership but there are more to go."
The Indigenous Party of Australia hopes to be registered in time for the next Federal election. They will stand candidates for the Senate. To stand for the Party, a person must be Indigenous, however, everyone is welcome to join.
"It is so wrong that the Indigenous people from the Northern Territory are being stopped from voting because they can’t meet impractical AEC requirements. We share this land with non-Indigenous people. They get to vote so we need to vote too. If the electoral commission just showed a little bit of good will, this problem could be solved. They need to get outside of their, "We must follow the rules," head space and start thinking about justice and working with our mob to solve this problem" says Uncle Owen.
The Party congratulates Mathew Ryan of the West Arnhem Land Regional Council and Ross Mandi of the Yalu Aboriginal Corporation for having the guts and determination to stand up for Indigenous voting rights.
"If there is any way the Indigenous Party of Australia can help our brothers and sisters in the Northern Territory, we would be honoured to do so" said Uncle Owen from Wilcannia. We fully support their call for Canberra to take rapid action to improve Indigenous enrolment rates. One way might be for a team from the electoral commission to come to the Northern Territory and enrol people or pay Indigenous people to go all over the Territory till the job is done." says Uncle Owen.
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