In some ways Warren H Williams seems singularly suited to be “the voice” for people who are “the last to be recognised” but the first to be the subject of “government experiment”. If he put his message to music, who could turn away from that husky, golden voice from the desert, that sings so movingly of “the hills of home”? KIERAN FINNANE was at the launch of his run for the Senate today, on the Greens ticket.
"They will take your vote, and take away your freedom! Lock you up, and give your children away! Make you pay for living on your land! Make you pay rent forever! Kick you out of town after taking your money! Control your Governance and say they now what's best for you!"
That was the fine print on the back of the First Nations Political Party how-to-vote cards, a lot more dramatic and threatening than the spoken statements of Ken Lechleitner, co-founder of the party with Maurie Ryan, whom we have quoted in recent articles.
The Alice Springs News Online asked Mr Lechleitner if these messages to voters could be substantiated. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Ken Lechleitner, left, at the August 7 meet-the-candidates forum in Alice Springs. First Nations candidate Edan Baxter has the microphone. He has since resigned from the party.
Ken Lechleitner on polling day, campaigning for Warren H. Williams (back to the camera) in Hermannsburg.
The Darwin-focussed politics of successive Territory governments has finally got the challenge it deserved and it came from the black vote in the bush. Credit has to go to the Country Liberals' significant work in communicating with bush electorates and fielding credible candidates with strong local roots – this transformation of the Country Liberals is one of the major changes wrought by Labor's 11 years in power. But the performance of the First Nations Political Party, particularly in the electorate of Stuart, suggests a broader politicisation of Aboriginal people, no longer happy to have other voices speaking for them.
The challenge for the Country Liberals government will now be to respond to their new support base, honouring their campaign promises. The challenge for the First Nations Political Party is to remain active, develop its thinking beyond the broad brush, and identify future credible candidates. On polling day at Hermannsburg KIERAN FINNANE spoke to Ken Lechleitner about the party's future.
UPDATE, August 25, 10.41pm: With 95% of the ballot counted, Alison Anderson (Country Liberals) has been returned in Namatjira with 64.5% of the vote. Des Rogers (Labor) has 28.3% and Warren H. Williams (FNPP), 7.2%. Ms Anderson's win is part of a historic swing to the CLP in the bush, which has given them government.
Nicholas Williams (at left) was in Hermannsburg this morning, handing out how-to-vote cards for his father, Warren H. Williams, while stationed in front of Alison Anderson's campaign vehicle.
"I'm campaigning for both," he said, "Warren is my father, Alison is my aunty. I'm doing it for family."
In practical terms that meant telling prospective voters to put his dad at number one but to give their second preference to Ms Anderson. This went against his father's how-to-vote, where Ms Anderson was in the last spot, with second preference going to Labor's Des Rogers. Nicholas said he didn't mind who won the seat, out of his two relatives.
And the most important issue in his home community? Families have to change and become "role models" for kids, he said. KIERAN FINNANE reports from Hermannsburg.