09 May 2019

Parties warned not to take remote communities for granted

GetUp is at remote polling stations around the Northern Territory this week, talking to voters in remote Aboriginal communities about how political parties stack up on key issues such as remote housing, deaths in custody and the Northern Territory Intervention.


GetUp is as remote polling stations around the Northern Territory this week, talking to voters in remote Aboriginal communities about how political parties stack up on key issues such as remote housing, deaths in custody and the Northern Territory Intervention.

First Nations Justice Lead Larissa Baldwin said,candidates and political parties had been taking remote communities for granted for too long.

“Some candidates don’t even bother to turn up here, and worse they don’t have positions on the issues that matter, like remote housing and deaths in custody,” she said.

The scorecard, which will be handed out at remote polling booths across the electorate of Lingiari rates ranks parties on the key issues nominated by GetUp’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members, including:

  • ending the Northern Territory Intervention,
  • stopping deaths in custody,
  • funding remote housing,
  • putting First Nations Affairs in First Nations hands.
  • and ending the Community Development Program,

‘We’ve found people hungry for our information about where the parties stand on the policies that affect them, like the Community Development Program and the Northern Territory Intervention.’

“There’s no doubt the Morrison government has been a disaster for Aboriginal people. Tony Abbott was chased out of Borroloola last year because of his support for the Northern Territory Intervention, and for bringing in nearly half a billion dollars in cuts to Aboriginal-controlled organisations. But we need all parties to be better for First Nations communities- some parties didn’t bother to respond to our survey.”

Ms Baldwin said when mob work together, they can get results.

“Look at what the First Nations Workers Alliance and others have achieved - their work has seen Labor commit to ending the racist Community Development Program. We need our mob to turn out and vote, but we are also building electoral power and engagement for after the election.

‘Today we were at Ngukurr and there were dozens of young people turned away from the polling booth because they weren’t enrolled to vote. This is heartbreaking, particularly when we’ve seen big cuts to the Australian Electoral Commission office in Darwin who were running the enrolment programs.

“Numerous seats around the country have a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voters than the margin. If we get active on our issues, we can change who represents us.

“To the parties I say - it’s not just about having the right policies, it’s about recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities know what’s best for them, and that they want change’.

In addition to face to face engagement with voters in Lingiari, the scorecard will also go online and Facebook ads will run in seats with a high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voters - such as Leichhardt, Parkes, Durack, Herbert and Kennedy.

The scorecard is available here:  getup.org.au/first-nations-election