Warlpiri woman Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has emerged victorious after defeating first-term Country Liberal Samantha McMahon in the Northern Territory Senate preselection battle. 

It looks promising for the 40-year-old deputy mayor of Alice Springs Council, who may join the Coalition’s ranks and head to the Senate. If elected, Price would be the third Indigenous Australian to represent the Coalition in the Upper House. 

Price would follow in the footsteps of Queenslander Neville Bonner, who was the first Indigenous Member of Parliament in 1971, half a century after he was elected as well as his great-niece Joanna Lindgren who also served from 2015 to 2016.

In a statement, Price said she appreciates all the support she is getting from the community and has received endorsements from former Prime Minister John Howard and former federal Labor president Warren Mundine.

“I am deeply humbled and grateful for the support of the Country Liberal Party as well as the people of the NT and Australia,” she said. 

Price is known for drawing attention to the high domestic violence rates within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. In 2016 she delivered an address to the Centre for Independent Studies that called for a stop to the violence against women and children that she said was predominantly inflicted by Aboriginal men, titled Homeland Truths: The Unspoken Epidemic of Violence in Indigenous Communities.

Price has also voiced her opinion around the Change the Date and Black Lives Matter movements, calling them “social media fads” that took focus away from important issues surrounding Indigenous Australians. 

“All they are doing is shifting focus off the far bigger problems facing Indigenous Australians.”

“Indigenous Australians are far more likely to die at the hands of other Indigenous Australians than at the hands of white people or in police custody,” she said.

Price has also written a paper highlighting Indigenous disadvantage and talks to policy areas like education and welfare reform as well as customary law. She is an advocate of the cashless debit card, which quarantines 80 per cent of welfare payments in attempt to promote responsible spending.

Since it was established in the 1970s, the Territory’s two Senate seats have been occupied by one Labor senator and one Country Liberal senator. The senators have three-year terms and will take their seats immediately after the next election, in line with Lower House MPs.

By Teisha Cloos