Ella Archibald-Binge // Australia’s first Torres Strait Islander parliamentarian vows to ‘stand up and fight’

Australia’s first Torres Strait Islander parliamentarian vows to ‘stand up and fight’ in maiden speech | NITV – “For Torres Strait Islanders this mat signifies life’s journey from womb to tomb,” Ms Lui told the chamber.

“It is used for housing material, sleeping, conceiving, birthing, initiation, education, marriage, welcoming, meetings, transport, hunting, ceremonies, shelter and to our final journey. As I begin this new journey I will embrace the significance of what this mat represents as a place to sit down and create an open dialogue around various issues.”

Ms Lui became the first Torres Strait Islander elected to an Australian parliament when she won the north Queensland electorate of Cook at the state election in November. She now sits alongside Leeanne Enoch, the first Aboriginal woman elected to Queensland parliament, and Stephen Andrew, the first South Sea Islander elected to state parliament.

Speaking in front of Cape York Traditional Owners who sat in the gallery, the proud Iamalaig (Yam Islander) woman of the Kulkalgal nation began by acknowledging the achievements of her ancestors.

Watch Cynthia Lui’s maiden speech in full here.

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