Former Kimberley MP to contest Durack

Sebastian Neuweiler, GERALDTON GUARDIANGeraldton Guardian

Former State member for the Kimberley and recent Mid West resident, Carol Martin, has emerged as Labor’s endorsed candidate for the Federal seat of Durack at the 2017 election.

Ms Martin was the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to any Australian, State or Territory Parliament.

She was elected to the seat of Kimberley in 2001 after the resignation of Ernie Bridge, who was the first indigenous Australian to become a Cabinet minister.

Ms Martin resigned from politics in 2013, after racial slurs directed at her in response to her support for Woodside Petroleum’s plans to build a liquefied natural hub near Broome.

Her views had sometimes clashed with popular opinion, as in 2009, when she expressed doubts about alcohol restrictions in the towns of Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek where foetal alcohol spectrum disorder was widespread.

The former member identifies as Noongar, the First-Nations people of the State’s South West.

She lived in foster care from age 12 to 15 when she went to live with her mother and siblings in Broome.

In the Kimberley, Ms Martin became a social worker before serving in local government and State Government.

She recently moved to the Mid West and said she would campaign against the forced closures of remote communities, cuts to the health and education systems and increases to the GST.

In her bid for the seat, Ms Martin will come up against fierce competition from current member for Durack Melissa Price, who has confirmed she will again vie for the position.

Ms Price said she remained committed to her constituents and continuing her role had “never been in doubt”.

She said if re-elected she would continue to build on work undertaken since the 2013 election, such as improving mental health services in Geraldton and making the Mid West and Durack a better place in which to live, visit and work.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails