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Indigenous Man Becomes Australia’s First Openly Gay Parliamentary Speaker

Supplied (Chancey Paech third from right)

Australia’s Northern Territory made history last week when the parliament made openly gay Indigenous man, Chancey Paech the Speaker.

It’s another first for Paech who became Australia’s first gay Indigenous man in parliament when he was elected in 2016.

“I am young, I am gay, I am black. I’m a true blue Territorian,” Paech told DNA at the time.

In an interview with the Thomas Reuters Foundation, Paech said he wanted to see more minorities in parliament.

“I’m a big believer that people can’t be what they can’t see,” 33-year-old Paech said.

“I hope that my appointment as a First Nations person and as a person from the LGBTI community sends a message to people… this moment in time is reaffirming that we can be whatever we want to be,” Paech said.  

Paech served as Deputy Speaker previously replacing Kezia Purick who resigned last month after she was investigated for corruption. Joining Paech is another Indigenous lawmaker, Ngaree Ah Kit, who was appointed Deputy Speaker. It’s the first time Indigenous people have held the top two positions.

“Now two People Of Colour are running the show – we’re trailblazing,” Peach said.

He said his goal “has always been and will always be improving the lives of remote Aboriginal people”.

One of his first actions has been to make the Northern Territory Parliament more representative of its Indigenous citizens.

“Parliament having particular pieces of art or artefacts that are handmade by First Nations people to be inside the parliament itself is really important,” he said, adding that a crocodile skin already sits on the parliamentary business table.

“I’m from the desert and I would love to see something representative of First Nations people from the interior, from the desert country. Those are just little things, but they can have a big impact.”

You can read DNA’s interview with Paech in #204 available from DNA store.

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