Stunning victory in Northern Territory elections 2016

Be part of history in the making. 

Every Commonwealth nation has a treaty with Indigenous peoples – except Australia.

Chosen by an Indigenous political structure, the Yolngu Nations Assembly, Yingiya Mark Guyula ran on Treaty in a majority Indigenous electorate in Nhulunbuy electorate in 2016 in eastern Arnhem Land.

He won the election by 8 votes, unseating the sitting Labor deputy leader.             This is historic, a huge step forward for Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty – and for our nation as a whole.

We all need Treaty to move forward. The path to our future passes through the past.

AIM is a supporter of Yingyia’s platform:

Nhulunbuy electorate is named after the largest town. The majority of residents are indigenous. Covering 113,600 km² it includes towns of Nhulunbuy, Galiwinku, Yirrkala and Gapuwiyak. 

The region of East Arnhem Land is home to the Yolŋu society, a group of indigenous Australians with a common system of law, language (a system of related dialects) and culture. They are politically organised through clans, tribes and clan-nations, as well as a network of provinces and a federating parliament built on the moiety structure of Dhuwa and Yirritja. The yolŋu system of government is not material rich but is relationally powerful, and has helped their society survive for millennia.

At all levels of Yolŋu politic the individual and society are balanced through complex rights and responsibilities, and by a high degree of individual participation in decision making. This is enabled by structures and conventions that compel decisions by consensus.

At the more complex levels of Yolŋu government, which involve leaders from different regions and clans, rules of consensus remain. Here delegates sit in forums or parliament as effective ‘independents’ weighing issues according to the Law (including statutes, story and moral code) and the needs of their constituents (people of their clan/tribe etc.).

Parties and the oppositional nature of the Westminster system of government are foreign to Yolŋu society.

Kendall Trudgen is campaign manager for Yingiya in the 2016 elections. He lives with wife and two children in Galiwinku. He grew up in the NT, his parents now living in Nhulunbuy. His father Richard runs a Yolŋu radio program.

Kendall ran as an independent in the NT 2012 elections in the seat of Nhulunbuy.