Nova Peris OAM
Senator for the Northern Territory
Nova Peris represented the Northern Territory in the Senate for the Australian Labor Party, having been elected at the 2013 federal election. She was the first Indigenous woman elected to the Australian Parliament.
Her parliamentary career followed an outstanding sporting career as a member of the gold medal winning field hockey team at the 1996 Olympics and as a sprinter at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, where she won two gold medals. She also competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and has been awarded Young Australian of the Year (1997), the Medal of the Order of Australia (1997) and the Australian Sports Medal (2000).
In her first speech in the Senate, Peris spoke with pride of her Aboriginal heritage and urged her parliamentary colleagues to become champions for the recognition of Australia's first peoples in the Constitution. She took every opportunity to speak up about inequality, injustice, education and health issues, especially on the impacts of alcohol abuse, youth suicide and domestic violence in the Northern Territory. She was also a passionate advocate for Aboriginal Australians and was prominent in the debate on proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
After one term as a senator, Peris retired prior to the 2016 federal election.