Senator for the Northern Territory
Senator Trish Crossin was the first woman to represent the Northern Territory in the federal parliament. Throughout her fifteen years as an Australian Labor Party senator, she was a vocal advocate for the Northern Territory and especially its Aboriginal peoples. She argued that the federal government’s 2007 intervention to protect children in the Northern Territory disregarded the views of Indigenous people and did not comply with the Racial Discrimination Act. She felt ‘privileged’ to be part of the federal parliament during the formal apology in 2008 to Aboriginal people forcibly removed from their families.
Education policy, informed by her work as a teacher, was an area in which Crossin made a sustained contribution to debates with Indigenous education a particular concern. Workplace relations was another area of interest, and in 2000 she introduced a private senator’s bill on workplace discrimination against pregnant and breastfeeding women. While the bill was unsuccessful, amendments to this effect were made to the Sex Discrimination Act in 2003. She was one of four government senators to introduce a private senator’s bill on marriage equality for same sex couples in 2012.
Senator Crossin was an active member and chair of many Senate committees including the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, which she chaired in 2009–13.