Australia‘s first every openly gay, Indigenous parliamentarian, Chansey Paech, gave his maiden speech in Northern Territory parliament yesterday.
Paech is the newly elected member for Namatjira – which is larger than Tassie and Victoria combined and includes Uluru – at only 28 years of age.
— Chansey Paech MLA (@CPaech) October 18, 2016
He delivered his maiden speech in the 13th Parliament of the Northern Territory:
“Madam Speaker, I am young, I am gay, I am black, a true blue Territorian.I am a Centralian man, I am the nation’s first openly gay, Indigenous parliamentarian.I am eternally proud of who I am and where I come from, I own it and wear it with pride.”
He also spoke in support of same-sex marriage, and against the plebiscite. He has also previously spoke out about wanting to reform the laws around same-sex adoption in the Territory.
However, during his campaign many thought Paech‘s openness about his sexuality would work against him. But in fact, it was the opposite – voters simply didn’t care.
A voter told him: “They said you were a gay and we said we didn’t care, we just want houses.”
Paech told SBS:
“My sexuality was completely irrelevant to the people in the electorate. They were focussed on issues which actually affected their everyday lives.”
Paech told parliament that he represents the diversity that exists in the Territory; he promises to assist with the full economic potential of Aboriginal communities being realised, and wants to push for more and better roads to remote areas.
“Quite often we talk about wanting things to change.I didn’t want to be the kind of person who just sits around and talks about change, I wanted to be part of making that change happen.”
Photo: Jillian Mundy.