Dorinda Cox becomes the first Aboriginal woman Senator from WA
By Alison Xamon
[As read into Hansard by Hon. Brad Pettitt MLC at Dorinda’s confirmation as a WA Senator by the WA Parliament on 14th September]
It is with enormous delight that today I get to witness the beginning of the parliamentary contribution of my dear friend and colleague Dorinda Cox.
Much is going to be made about the importance, and the significance of having the first Aboriginal woman Senator from WA finally join the Federal Parliament. And it is significant. And long overdue. Dorinda will be bringing the essential First Nations perspective to our Parliament and I know that means a lot for a great many people and in particular our First Nations people who have remained under-represented within our parliaments for far too long. For the Greens, having Dorinda join Victorian Senator Lydia Thorpe is a source of great joy and with that a hope that we will be continuing to journey together as Australians towards reconciliation and treaty.
But I also want to ensure that it is recognised that in addition Dorinda brings a significant and impressive degree of life experiences, knowledge and credibility to her new role as Senator for Western Australia.
Those who have had the privilege of undertaking parliamentary representation are all too familiar with the importance of having both a broad experience of life and a broad understanding of the complexities of people’s lives within the communities we are called to serve.
Dorinda has this necessary breadth of experience and understanding.
From having worked as a police officer, to being an expert in the area of family and domestic violence, and child protection, with a comprehensive understanding of the lived experiences of some of the most vulnerable within our community. Dorinda understands the impacts of homelessness, and the impacts that trauma and poverty play on matters of mental health. The overrepresentation of First Nations people in our prison systems, the challenges within our justice system. These are some of the complex issues for our time, and today we bring someone to our Federal Parliament with a deep understanding of these issues and the sectors that attempt to address them.
Dorinda will also prove to be a powerful voice for the protection of country. As a First Nations woman Dorinda’s connection with land ensures that protection of our environment will be at the forefront of her advocacy. And the urgent need to address those global threats to our world such as the impacts of climate change. The protection of culture, of our aboriginal sacred sites will receive the attention it deserves.
Dorinda is aware that she is stepping into big shoes, those of Senator Rachel Siewert. But it is so fitting that following years of attempting to receive justice for First Nations people, that Rachel’s successor is now, herself, an aboriginal woman.
Dorinda my friend, I am so proud of you for putting your name forward to represent the people of Western Australia, to ensure that there is a voice for justice and for the earth. I know you will do a wonderful job and I am enormously proud of you.
Header photo: Dorinda at a ceremony in Kaarta Gar-up (Kings Park) at the beginning of the Yooreel Bidi walk to WA Parliament House on 14th September, prior to her confirmation as a WA Senator by the WA Parliament. Christine Lindsey
[Opinions expressed are those of the author and not official policy of Greens WA]