Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are significantly more likely to stand as candidates for the Labor party than Liberal, Country Liberal or National candidates, according to new research from the University of Melbourne’s Dilin Duwa Centre for Indigenous Business Leadership released this morning.
The study, published in the Australian Journal of Political Science, also found Indigenous people were more likely to win as ALP candidates.
Dilin Duwa director associate professor Michelle Evans and Griffith University professor Duncan McDonnell looked at data from all federal, state and territory elections from February 2001 to May 2021.
Of the 143 Indigenous candidates put forward by the two major parties in those elections, 70 per cent stood for the Labor Party.
This is the first study to examine pathways to candidacy, which parties candidates stood for, the winnability of the seats they contested, and the outcome.
Mr McDonnell said that 53.2 per cent of the Indigenous candidates won their election.
The study also found Indigenous women won their elections 66 per cent of the time, and male Indigenous candidates won 44 per cent of their election contests.
The report found that the ALP has put forward more than five times as many Indigenous women than the Liberals-National coalition.
The research also found that most Indigenous candidates had been members of their party for at least a year before standing for election.
Ms Evans said that roughly two thirds of Indigenous candidates were local people highly engaged with the communities in which they were standing for election.
“We observed how the longer experience of partisans in the parties – and the mentoring and other advantages this gave them – had helped candidates navigate some of the challenges of standing for election,” she said.
The study used election data backed-up by interviews with fifty Indigenous candidates who stood in election between 2010 and 2019 at federal, state and territory levels for the Australian Labor Party, Liberal Party, and National Party.