Gay Aboriginal MP makes plea for equality in maiden speech
An Aboriginal Australian MP has delivered a rousing speech calling for equal marriage.
Chansey Paech was recently elected as the Northern Territory Labor MLA for Namatjira, becoming the country’s first openly gay Aboriginal elected MP.
The new politician delivered a passionate speech on Tuesday, as the new session of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly began.
Speaking to his fellow politicians, Mr Paech, who is of Eastern Arrernte and Gurindji heritage, spoke about the lack of marriage equality for gay couples.
He said: “I am young, I am gay, I am black: a true-blue Territorian.
“I am a Centralian man. I am the nation’s first openly gay Indigenous parliamentarian. I am eternally proud of who I am and where I come from. I own it and wear it with pride.
“I look forward to the day when this country will recognise my rights as equal rights, when I too can marry in my country, on my country, as a recognised first Australian.”
Speaking to Buzzfeed, Mr Paech opened up about his long road to election – which included facing smear from opponents, who tried to dissuade Aboriginal voters from supporting him because he is gay.
He said: “That kind of language the electorate didn’t respond well to.
“The most beautiful thing was when I was at a remote community [campaigning] and people said to me, ‘They said you were a gay and we said we didn’t care, we just want houses’.”
“I will stand proud with my Labor colleagues across our vast lands to ensure that all Territorians have equality and that we reach a time when our first Australians are constitutionally recognised.”