Arrernte activist Celeste Liddle has announced she will run for the inner-Melbourne seat of Cooper, formerly Batman, in the next federal election.
Running with The Australian Greens, the staunch feminist, union organiser, and social commentator will attempt to beat incumbent Labor MP Ged Kearney for the seat.
Should Liddle be elected, she will be the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the House of Representatives from Victoria.
“I am an Arrernte woman, unionist, feminist and writer, and I’m ready to fight for our future,” Liddle said upon her announcement.
“I’ve lived in this area for almost two decades … Our community is diverse and creative, and has one of the highest proportions of Indigenous people in Victoria.
“We need a representative from a truly progressive party that’s powered by people instead of big corporate donors.”
Liddle is currently the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organiser for the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU).
“As a union organiser, I’ve seen first-hand the power of collective action. With a small change in the vote, we can hold the balance of power.”
While the Greens held 21 per cent of the Cooper primary vote in the last election, it has been held by Labor since 1934.
It’s understood while the Greens have a strategy to take seats that will result in a hung Parliament and help them form a minority government with Labor, Liddle’s candidacy was not one of the nine targeted seats.
Greens leader Adam Bandt has welcomed Liddle’s candidacy, saying he was “thrilled” Liddle is bringing her “years of community activism and campaigning to the heart of Australia’s democracy”.
“A fierce advocate for working people, Celeste is on a mission to fight back against the Liberals’ cuts to higher [education], their failures to spur wage growth for workers, and years of inaction on the climate crisis.”
Since her announcement, Liddle has received a torrent of online abuse as many accused her of trying to “steal” Ged Kearney’s seat and demanding she run in another seat.
“I think it’s telling what sort of negative mentions from the left I have received,” Liddle tweeted.
“The vast majority … have accused the Greens and me from [sic] trying to ‘steal’ the seat from the current sitting member.”
So perhaps I just state this: I care about this community, I am proud mob who lives here, I’m interested in robust democracy & I am privileged to have been preselected by The Greens. Check yourselves if your response has been akin to tweet 2. See you on the trail 3/3
— Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana) May 15, 2021
Liddle backed her candidacy, however, highlighting she has lived in the Cooper community for over two decades and that feels privileged to have been pre-selected by the Greens.
From mob particularly #BlackfullaTwitter, to colleagues & members, the Greens of course, so many various community members, loads of Cooper residents, some of my fave Melb punk bands, and just really really good people. Thanks for your support, your “checking in” etc. Legends 🤘🏾
— Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana) May 21, 2021
By Hannah Cross