Winning the Aboriginal Vote off Labor

Labor were trounced at the weekend in Norther Territory despite media pundits claiming, hoping that they would retain the Territory. The CLP picked up masses of votes in the bush and from traditional Labor supporters int he Aboriginal community:

Andrew Bolt calls it a “a huge blow to the victimology and race politics of the Left” and links to an article in The Australian that explains how the CLP garnered support from Aboriginals.

The dramatic shift in the Top End’s political landscape will see decision-making power handed back to local indigenous people, including through a strong presence in parliament and regular, full-cabinet meetings held four times a year with panels of traditional leaders…

The radical change in approach to indigenous affairs seeks to reinvigorate the traditional structures of Aboriginal authority, and attempt to combat welfare dependency and paternalism by putting responsibility back on the shoulders of individuals…

CLP leader Terry Mills yesterday lashed the political Left for caring more about ideology than about people.

“I think the Left, and the ideas of the Left, do more for more ideas and ideology than they do for people,” Mr Mills said.

Sound familiar?

Retired West Australian magistrate Sue Gordon said while there was a widespread push within remote indigenous communities to take charge of their own affairs, Labor had remained stuck in a paternalistic – “we’re here to look after you” – mindset.

“Bush blacks, as they call themselves, know what their problems are. People are thinking, ‘How do we get out of this welfare mode?’, and it’s not waiting for public servants to fly in to their community,” Dr Gordon said.

More and more familiar.

The CLP sped to victory exclusively on the back of gains in the bush. Labor suffered an estimated 8.3 per cent Territory-wide swing against it on a two-party-preferred basis with 66 per cent of the vote counted. The estimated swing across a range of bush seats was double at 16 per cent…

In a dramatic shift in the party’s election strategy, the CLP fielded four strong Aboriginal candidates…

(Alison) Anderson was returned in Namatjira after having switched sides to join the CLP, while 28-year-old Aboriginal health worker and mother of four Larisa Lee achieved an upset victory over former Labor indigenous and regional development minister Malarndirri McCarthy in the seat of Arnhem…

CLP candidate Francis Xavier Maralampuwi is ahead of Labor candidate and former AFL star Dean Rioli in the seat of Arafura, where former controversial Labor member Marion Scrymgour has stepped down. High-profile Aboriginal woman Bess Price is also ahead in counting of her Labor counterpart, former environment minister Karl Hampton, in the vast desert seat of Stuart.

Ms Lee said she had won her seat in large part on the back of dissatisfaction with NT Labor’s shire reforms, which centralised control of local government and left the new “super shires” effectively bankrupt. Her opponent, Ms McCarthy, presided over the changes.


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  • Vlad

    The parallels aren’t perfect but that is why the Maori Party has been brave & wise to go into coalition with National – and also one of the reasons why I admire John Key as a thoughtful and far-seeing Prime Minister.

  • davidp

    Larisa Lee’s FaceBook page is interesting as an introduction to Territory campaigning. Driving around in a non-gay ute. Camping under the stars. Meeting elders. Fishing. And apparently related to every man, woman, and child she meets.

    Larisa is the daughter of Robert Lee, who is (or was?) the chairman of the Jawoyn tribal association. They’re the most business like of the Territory indigenous groups, seeing tourism and economic development as being a priority.

    I spent five years in the Territory, traveled all over, and loved every minute of it.

  • cows4me

    ” I think the left, and ideas of the left do more for ideas and ideology than they do for people”. About sums up the bullshit that is the left. The left believe their policies are the cure for society and it’s ills. Fucking morons, didn’t they pay attention in history class, their ideas and ideology are A1 failures of the highest order.