‘First Australian indigenous party listed’ writes Paul Osborne (AAP, January 10, 2011). But as far as I can tell, the First Nations Political Party is neither the first Party to be on the Federal register, or the first indigenous Australian political party to form. In 1992, for example, the ‘Australian Indigenous Peoples Party’ was launched. It lived for about six years or so (“The Australia’s Indigenous Peoples Party was registered on 13 January 1993 and deregistered on 23 July 1999″). In 2004, filmmaker Richard Frankland helped to spearhead another Aboriginal party titled ‘Your Voice’. It failed to register, but carried on agitating for a few years, before disappearing in 2008 (Black Voice catches ear of world, Larry Schwartz, The Age, May 23, 2004; as a Senatorial candidate in Victoria, Frankland got 7,266 votes).
The successful registration of the First Nations Political Party was preceded by an announcement by Maurie Japarta Ryan in December, and the establishment of two separate (but unregistered) parties to contest the 2010 Australian Federal election. The Ecological Social Justice, Aboriginal Party (WA) and the First Nations Original Peoples Party (NT) amalgamated around June (“[t]he united party has swelled its membership to over 2,000 members and intends to attain 5,000 members by the year’s end”). The ESJAP stood Gerry Georgatos, Bill Hayward, Marianne Mackay and Lara Menkens for the WA Senate (who as an Ungrouped Ticket together gained a total of 552 votes or 0.04%), while Dot Henry stood for the party in Hasluck (1,457 votes / 1.77%) and Geoffrey Stokes in O’Connor (1,298 votes / 1.59%). In the NT, Maurie Japarta Ryan (119 votes / 0.12%) and Ian Lee (314 votes / 0.32%) wanted a seat in the Senate, while Kenny Lechleitner looked to the Lower House seat of Lingiari (1,910 votes / 4.45%).