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Aboriginal People's Room and Gallery

Honey Ants
Honey Ants by Aaron Hayden

The Aboriginal People’s Room and Gallery were established as a unique space to focus on the state’s Indigenous heritage and culture for the centenary of Parliament House in 2004. The area houses parliament’s Indigenous art collection. View Parliament’s Aboriginal Art collection.

Indigenous Voices in Parliament

Portrait of Ernie Bridge
Ernie Bridge

The WA Parliament has continuing representation by Indigenous people including the current treasurer, Ben Wyatt, MLA. Ernie Bridge was the first Indigenous person to win a seat in the WA Parliament when he was elected to the seat of Kimberly in 1980. It was then held by Indigenous woman, Carol Martin. The seat is now held by another Indigenous woman, Josie Farrer MLA.

Indigenous Language in WA Parliament

Painting of Josie Farrer
Josie Farrer by Christopher Bailey

The WA Parliament recognises the importance of Australian Indigenous languages for Aboriginal people. Josie Farrer MLA, a Gidja woman, has spoken her native language in the WA Parliament on a number of occasions. She spoke in Gidja in her speech on the Constitutional Recognition Bill.

Constitutional Recognition

Cover of Recognition Act

Aboriginal people were formally recognised as the first people and traditional custodians of WA after MLA Josie Farrer’s Bill amending the State’s constitution passed through parliament in 2015. The then Premier Colin Barnett congratulated Josie Farrer, the member for Kimberley, who said it was an exciting and happy day.
Message Stick

Message Stick: the Baton of Life

This special message stick, crafted from a Kimberley medicine tree, is known as the Baton of Life. It was given to Josie Farrer MLA by the Beagle Bay community and she presented it to the Parliament of Western Australia in 2013. The markings symbolise the loss of Beagle family members to suicide. In March 2016, Josie Farrer moved for a parliamentary enquiry into youth suicide in the Kimberley. The message stick and the resultant report were tabled in Parliament, in November the same year. Read more.