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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Mr Ken Wyatt welcomed to Parliament in traditional ceremony

Date posted: 29 September 2010

At the 21 August 2010 election, Mr Ken Wyatt became the first Indigenous Australian member of Parliament's lower house, as the Western Australian Liberal member for the seat of Hasluck. At 58 years of age, he follows into Parliament Indigenous Australian senators Mr Neville Bonner and Mr Aden Ridgeway. Mr Wyatt was honoured in a traditional ceremony in the forecourt of Parliament House on 28 September 2010 to celebrate the opening of Australia's 43rd Parliament. Aboriginal elder of the Ngunnawal people, Matilda House, gave the welcome to country and spoke well of the introduction of Indigenous Australian traditions into Australian Parliament's standing orders. Mr Wyatt participated in the traditional ceremony and attended his official duties, taking the oath of office wearing a traditional ceremonial cloak, a boohka, made from kangaroo hide and a feather of a red-tailed black cockatoo. Mr Wyatt spoke of the symbolism and importance of ‘protection' and ‘leadership' represented by the cloak, which came from his native Noongar country in Western Australia. The speeches were followed by a smoking ceremony where Parliamentary members were cleansed as part of the traditional ceremony. The ceremony was an important recognition of Indigenous Australian traditions and is a significant event in Australian history.


Mr Ken Wyatt
Liberal member for Hasluck
C/- PO Box 49
West Perth WA 6872
Ph: (08) 6436 3300
Fax: (08) 6436 3399


Last updated: 29 September 2010
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