Senator Malarndirri McCarthy is a Yanyuwa woman from the Gulf country in the Northern Territory. She first entered the public sphere as a journalist, working as a television news and current affairs presenter for the ABC and more recently for SBS/NITV.
Senator McCarthy was elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly as the Member for Arnhem in 2005. During her seven years in the Assembly, she held the Ministerial Portfolios of Local Government, Regional Development, Indigenous Development, Tourism, Women’s Policy and Statehood.
As a Cabinet Minister she drove change and reform in the child protection system and in Homelands policy; developed tourism as a stronger economic driver; and grew jobs in the bush.
She was first elected as Senator for the Northern Territory in August 2016, and re-elected in May 2019. Her first speech in the Senate was applauded for highlighting the struggles of recognition and land rights for First Nations people.
Senator McCarthy is the first politician to list ownership of traditional Indigenous lands as part of declarations of interest in Federal Parliament.
Her experiences bring unique perspectives to the role of Labor Senator for the NT, a familiarity with the challenges and opportunities facing Territorians, and the perseverance and determination to drive change.
Ms McCarthy’s focus is to bring communities together and ensure remote communities are engaged with and listened to on a national level.