Making a comeback to politics, Marion Scrymgour has been preselected for the Federal seat of Lingiari for the Australian Labor Party.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said she was preselected with “overwhelming support” in a rank-and-file ballot of the Territory Labor Party.
“Marion Scrymgour is an experienced and committed community leader and will be a formidable addition to the Labor team,” he said.
Ms Scrymgour joins fellow Aboriginal Labor powerhouses Pat Dodson, Malarndirri McCarthy and Linda Burney.
Ms Scrymgour was the first Indigenous woman to be elected to an NT Parliament and became the highest-ranked Indigenous woman in government in Australian history when she became Labor deputy chief minister from late 2007 until early 2009.
Retiring from Territory politics in 2012, Ms Scrymgour took up positions in Aboriginal affairs including CEO of Wurli-Wurlinjang Aboriginal Health Service in Katherine and chair of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory, headquartered in Darwin.
Since March 2019, Ms Scrymgour has been CEO of the Northern Land Council, a position now left vacant by her impending departure.
Ms Scrymgour told NIT she was “out bush” when she heard she had been preselected.
“It’s been a humbling exercise to get the tick from the rank-and-file (ballot) and the endorsement,” she said.
Ms Scrymgour, pictured, said she was returning because she wanted more, not only for herself, but for Aboriginal Territorians.
“I came in (to the NLC) with a set goal to stabilise and settle the organisation down, and I think I’ve done that … it’s in a really good place,” she said.
“For me it’s still this thing of wanting to have input at the highest level and look at policy that impacts our people out in the bush, but also across the regions.”
Ms Scrymgour is set to replace outgoing MP Warren Snowdon, who is retiring.
“I think when Warren made the decision to step down, I thought long and hard about … whether I’d stay in this position (at the NLC).
“And knowing that the seat was too important to the Northern Territory, I had to.”
With an Aboriginal population of 42 per cent, the seat of Lingiari covers 1,348,158 square kilometres, 99.99 per cent of the NT, and includes the Christmas and Cocos Islands.
By Hannah Cross