Aboriginal timeline: Politics

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  1. Prime Minister Scott Morrison appoints Ken Wyatt as Australia's first-ever Minister for Indigenous Australians who is actually Aboriginal.

  2. Spark Health, an Aboriginal merchandise business, launches a Change.org campaign to open the use of the Aboriginal flag to all Australians after WAM Clothing, the current licensing holder, sent a cease and desist notice to the business. By September 2020 more than 140,000 people had signed the petition.


  1. The Australian High Court rules that Aboriginal people cannot be deported even though the two men in the court's case were born overseas, only had permanent residency and never applied for Australian citizenship. The government wanted to deport them because both were convicted of crimes.

    The court found that Aboriginal people have a special cultural, historic and spiritual connection to Australia which is inconsistent with them being considered "aliens" in the meaning of the Australian constitution.

  2. For the first time in Queensland’s history, three Aboriginal MP’s hold seats in the state's Parliament: Member for Bundamba, Gubbi Gubbi man Lance McCallum, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch and backbencher Cynthia Lui.

  3. The Western Australian parliament passes a bill to end the controversial imprisonment of people for unpaid fines. Previously a person unwilling or unable to pay their fine could be arrested and made to pay it off by serving time in prison. A disproportionate number of Aboriginal people fell victim to this policy.

  4. Victorian Greens members elect Gunnai-Kurnai/Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe as the new (and first Aboriginal) Greens senator for Victoria, replacing the outgoing senator and former Greens leader Richard Di Natale. Thorpe is an Aboriginal leader and activist and was previously the first Aboriginal woman elected to the Victorian parliament. She formally joins the Senate on October 6.

    Thorpe’s appointment brings the number of Aboriginal politicians in the federal parliament to five: Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Ken Wyatt (Coalition), Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services and for Preventing Family Violence, Linda Burney (Labor), and Labor senators Pat Dodson and Malarndirri McCarthy.


  1. Prime Minister Scott Morrison changes the words of the national anthem. The second line of the national song is now "for we are one and free" instead of "young and free". The change recognises Australia's long Aboriginal history but also the waves of migration and how Australians have united in times of crisis. However, the PM did not consult with Aboriginal people. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian had raised the idea for the wording change about a year ago. It is the first change to the anthem since 1984.

    Australia as a modern nation may be relatively young, but our country’s story is ancient, as are the stories of the many First Nations peoples.

    — Scott Morrison, Prime Minister
  2. Wiradjuri woman Yvonne Weldon announces to run for the Lord Mayor of Sydney, making her the first Aboriginal person to run for the position. The election will be in December.

  3. Former Western Australian treasurer and Yamatji man Ben Wyatt joins Rio Tinto as the first Aboriginal member of its board of directors, which follows the company's disastrous destruction of the Juukan Caves in 2020, which Wyatt approved in 2013.

  4. Almost 150 First Nations people are running for council positions in the NSW election.

  5. The Australian government reveals the new model of First Nations Australians’ voice to parliament as a series of local bodies and a national body, but declines to set these up until after the 2022 election or embed them in the Constitution. It also gives no details about their structure and boundaries.

    The 25 to 35 local and regional voice bodies form the consultative groups that would eventually have input into representatives on the national body. The national body would report to both the Australian parliament and government, reflecting the different roles of government and parliament in making laws and policies.


  1. After the federal election, Anthony Albanese (Labor Party) becomes Australia's 31st prime minister. He nominates Linda Burney as Indigenous affairs minister, the first Aboriginal woman to hold this position. More than 40 First Nations candidates stood for election (at least 25 House of Representatives, 16 Senate). The Indigenous-Aboriginal Party of Australia received 0.83% of all votes.

    There are now 10 First Nations members of Parliament: Linda Burney (Indigenous Australians Minister), Marion Scrymgour (Labor Member for Lingiari), Gordon Reid (Labor Member for Robertson), Lidia Thorpe (Greens Senator for Victoria and spokeswoman for Indigenous Affairs), Dorinda Cox (Greens Senator for Western Australia), Malarndirri McArthy (Labor Senator for Northern Territory), Jacinta Nampijinpa Price (Country Liberal Senator for Northern Territory), Jana Stewart (Labor Senator for Victoria), Pat Dodson (Labor Senator for Western Australia), Jacqui Lambie (Jacqui Lambie Network Senator for Tasmania).

    On behalf of the Australian Labor Party, I commit to the Uluru Statement.

    — Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese
  2. The Australian government scraps the requirement for citizenship ceremonies to be held on Australia Day (January 26). Councils can now schedule ceremonies to take place between January 23 and 29. A number of councils had already rescheduled their ceremonies to other days.


View article sources (5)

[1] 'Now is the time to recognise that Australia is 'one and free'', SMH 31/12/2020
[2] 'Who’s in, who’s out? How Indigenous candidates fared in the Federal election', National Indigenous Times 21/5/2022
[3] 'First preferences by candidate', Australian Electoral Commission, 24/5/2022 as of 7:53 pm AEST, available at tallyroom.aec.gov.au/SenateStateFirstPrefs-27966-NSW.htm
[4] 'FULL LIST: Record number of Indigenous MPs voted in to serve the Australian people', National Indigenous Times 23/5/2022
[5] '‘This will change Australia’: Linda Burney says Labor committed to Indigenous Voice', SMH 23/5/2022

Cite this page

Korff, J 2024, Aboriginal timeline: Politics, <https://stage.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australian-aboriginal-history-timeline/politics?page=9>, retrieved 22 June 2024

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