The Indigenous-Aboriginal Party of Australia became officially registered as a party late last month and will be standing candidates in the federal election next year.
Uncle Owen Whyman, a Paakindji man from Wilcannia put together a group of 9 Indigenous people from all over NSW to start the first political party in Australia targeting Indigenous issues.
“We know getting our people into all the parliaments of Australia is a crucial step in solving all these problems,” said Uncle Owen.
Glenda Merritt is the Indigenous Party of Australia’s candidate for Grayndler, running against leader of the opposition Anthony Albanese.
She plans to ask the next federal government when funds earmarked to reduce Indigenous suicide will be used to create the necessary services, and when will Australia’s First Nations Treaty process commence?
A Ngunnawal woman and community leader, Merritt grew up on the mission in her hometown of Yass and has worked in Sydney for over 11 years.
Ideas of Merritt
Glenda Merritt. Photo: Facebook/Indigenous Party of Australia.
Merritt believes in the right to self-determination, human rights, equal opportunity and freedom of choice. She advocates for Closing the Gap in the workforce, education, social justice and health areas.
She said Indigenous youth suicide and incarceration are among the worst in the world.
“To address these issues, I will advocate for Indigenous Youth Head Spaces. We know there is a lot of suspicion of authority and shame around asking for help, but I know if there was a place where Indigenous kids could speak to another Indigenous person, that initial barrier would be removed, and lives would be saved. Indigenous people must have control over services that cater for Indigenous issues and lives.
“We need to get imaginative instead of going straight to incarceration as a solution, which we know is not working, and only leading to greater issues. I will be asking the federal government to put pressure on the states to drastically reduce Indigenous incarceration now.”
Merritt believes education is a leveller, “current generations, Indigenous and non-Indigenous should have the same benefits that previous generations had, including many of our current politicians, a free tertiary education.”
Merritt wants to add ‘Recognised Indigenous Healing Services’ to Medicare.
“This service would support taking Indigenous youth onto Country where they can learn about culture and build their sense of self and community. This type of therapy has been proven to help turn the lives around of young men and women lost in a world of self-abuse and depression. There is absolutely no reason why this wouldn’t have the same positive results for non-Indigenous youth as well.”