Local advocate on all First Nations ticket
DJAB Wurrung woman and Ballarat-based First Nations advocate, Sissy Austin, is one of four Indigenous candidates on the Greens’ Victorian Senate ticket.
The all-First Nations marks marks a Victorian first, and Ms Austin, who sits at third on the ballot said she’s “really proud” to be a part of it.
“It’s been a really good experience in doing it together,” she said. “I find often in this country and this community I often feel like this lone First Nations voice.
“It’s good to be part of this ticket but also just a part of an incredibly significant collective.”
Ms Austin said her top priority within the Senate would be to form a treaty which she said would alleviate much of the “overarching inequalities” that First Nations people face.
“The issue of family violence for First Nations women is something I’m very passionate about that could be addressed and tackled via a treaty or truth-telling,” she said.
“It would bring to the surface historical violence faced by First Nations women and how that’s shaped the way they’re treated in society today.”
“It would also ensure that First Nations’ knowledge, voices, and experience is leading the climate battle. Too often our knowledge is called on at the last minute rather than at the beginning.”
Ms Austin said she would continue her advocacy efforts through the Senate around issues of First Nations family violence and child removal.
With the ticket fronted by Greens senator Lidia Thorpe, Ms Austin said an all-Indigenous ticket will allow the Greens to “build that trust” with First Nations communities.
“It engages us in a way like no other, having our own mob there, and it’ll allow them to see what’s going on politically through our eyes,” she said.
“I’m honoured that I’m in this generation where I can compare and contrast what it was like not having that representation to what it’s like now with Lidia.”
Ms Austin’s ticket constituents include Taungurung man Adam Frogley and Wiradjuri nonbinary person Zeb Payne.