Jobs Events Advertise

Housing the big issue as record Indigenous vote looms for knife-edge Queensland seat

Jarred Cross -

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the Queensland seat of Leichhardt is looking to have a real say in the upcoming Federal election.

A number of key issues are on the agenda but one sticks out amongst the pack.

"Housing has always been an issue for us in the region," says Leichhardt resident and Gudamalulayg man Haryne Uta Keane.

Mr Uta Keane said the number of people in terrible housing situations is rife throughout the region.

Plans to address housing crisis in Leichhardt have been discussed by a number of candidates at length in the lead up to election day.

Mr Uta Keane said despite persistent uproar little has been done thanks to housing affordability concerns nation wide giving governments an out.

"The cries from mob on the housing issue have been ignored," he said.

"Political leaders have an excuse to dismiss our outcry to address the issue under the guise that housing is a problem for all Australians, not just Indigenous Australians.

"Which party have our interests at heart?"

Leichhardt is home to more than 16,000 First Nations people, among the highest percentage of Indigenous representation in the country.

In the 2019 election incumbent Coalition MP Warren Entsch scraped in by fewer than 7,500 votes.

Scott Morrison has visited Leichhardt four times throughout his 2022 campaign - more than any other seat.

Anthony Albanese has made the journey north twice.

Both Labor and the Coalition have promised to throw money into the area, committing $91 million and $245.1 million respectively.

Mr Uta Keane hopes with the change in political climate the sense of hopelessness often felt might be behind them.

"I'm very confident we can make a change," he said.

"If you create urgency amongst the community, to make them feel like they have a democratic right you make them feel heard and empowered to vote.

"They (First Nations people) feel like this time they're going to be heard and they can make a change."

Political campaigners in the area are seeing similar investment from constituents.

"We're seeing the younger generation become more politically active and savvy with the electoral system and with the work that we're doing to build the capacity of these communities and building the electoral power within these people," GetUp campaigner and Wakka Wakka and South Sea Islander Man Jordan Wimbis said.

"We're seeing a lot more people show up, enrol and cast their votes in a really meaningful and informed way."

GetUp's Jordan Wimbis in Leichhardt.

image provided

The group is actively addressing accessibility issues which have impacted previous elections.

The number of polling booths is slim and opening hours inconvenient.

For many the threat of fines for staying home only amplifies the stress.

"We're trying really hard to build the electoral power of these people here and make sure that everyone has access," Mr Wimbis said.

"There were just unbelievable amount of barriers in their way to be able to cast (their vote)."

GetUp are presenting mob with information, drumming up a sense agency and will provide lifts to and from voting centres to strengthen voter participation.

GetUp are similarly involved in the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari.


Elaine Crombie set to bring the house down with Aboriginal Comedy All Stars
Pitjantjatjara, Warrigmal and South Sea Islander woman Elaine Crombie is set to...
Joseph Guenzler 12 Apr 2024
Jungaji releases new heartfelt single 'River Girl'
Gugu Yalanji songman Jungaji has released his new single 'River Girl'. The trac...
Joseph Guenzler 12 Apr 2024
Community Wellbeing Centre centre a game changer for Indigenous locals
A first-of-its kind community wellness centre in southern Queensland opened its...
David Prestipino 11 Apr 2024
Discovery of Australia's oldest pottery rewrites understanding of Aboriginal maritime history
The discovery of the oldest pottery ever found in Australia at Jiigurru (Lizard...
Brendan Foster 10 Apr 2024

   Jarred Cross   

Cameron cops one match from MRO in sour note to Lions big win at the 'G
Charlie Cameron’s return to form against the Demons on Thursday night has been s...
Jarred Cross 12 Apr 2024
'Constant crap': Indigenous footy voices hit back at Latrell Mitchell critics
Former dual international and Indigenous National Indigenous Sportswoman of the...
Jarred Cross 10 Apr 2024
Finlayson apologises to LGBTQIA+ community for Gather Round slur
Jeremy Finlayson has extended an apology to the LGBTQIA+ community for a homopho...
Jarred Cross 10 Apr 2024
Petracca, Goodwin back Kozzy Pickett’s ‘intensity’ following recent ban for high bump
Melbourne head coach Simon Goodwin says the club will back Kysaiah Pickett to “i...
Jarred Cross 10 Apr 2024