Former Northern Territory politician Malarndirri McCarthy will replace Nova Peris as Labor’s number one Senate candidate in July’s federal election.
Ms McCarthy, a former Government minister and journalist at the ABC, SBS and NITV, was last night endorsed by Labor’s national executive following the shock resignation of Ms Peris last week.
Ms McCarthy is an Aboriginal woman from Borroloola and made headlines – and internal enemies – when in 2007 she crossed the floor to vote against Labor’s legislation to allow the expansion of the McArthur River Mine.
Her detractors point to the fact that she was dumped as minister for child protection in 2009 just before an independent inquiry found the system was broken and identified a “tsunami of need”.
She also faced criticism after hundreds of cattle starved to death on a Mataranka property in 2009 while she was local government minister.
But the Labor Party said Ms McCarthy had a strong record as an advocate for Indigenous people and pointed to her excellent background in broadcasting.
“Ms McCarthy has also had a distinguished career as a journalist and is a champion for promoting Aboriginal culture, particularly amongst young people,” Labor said.
Ms Peris had been parachuted into the position by former prime minister Julia Gillard ahead of the 2013 federal election, ousting the then-incumbent senator Trish Crossin, angering some in the NT’s Labor Party.
Meanwhile, a Central NSW Coast man will face court after he allegedly sent racist and offensive messages to Ms Peris on Facebook.
Chris Nelson, a chiropractor and osteopath from Woy Woy, was arrested and charged after posts on the Olympic gold medalist’s Facebook page, calling her a “black c—” and telling her to “f— off” and “go back to the bush and suck on witchity [sic] grubs”.’