Chansey Paech Sworn In As NT’s First Out Gay Indigenous Deputy Chief Minister

Chansey Paech Sworn In As NT’s First Out Gay Indigenous Deputy Chief Minister
Image: Chasey Peach, Deputy Chief Minister of Northern Territory. Image: Facebook

Out gay Indigenous Member for Gwoja and LGBTQI activist Chansey Paech was on Thursday sworn in as the Northern Territory’s new deputy Chief Minister. 

Paech, first Aboriginal man to be elected to the office, said he was looking to make some “positive changes”. Eva Lawler, a former school teacher, was sworn in as the NT’s new chief minister. The change in the leadership team was necessitated following the resignation of Natasha Fyles, after it was revealed that she had failed to disclose that she owned shares in a mining company. 

“It is an absolute honour to be sworn in today as the Northern Territory Deputy Chief Minister. I’m proud to be the first Aboriginal man to hold this office and know I certainly won’t be the last,” Paech posted on Facebook.

Fighting For The Big Issues

Chansey Peach, Deputy CM, NT (extreme right), front row, with NT Chief Minister Eva Lawler (second from left, front row). Image: Facebook

Paech laid out his priorities. “As Chief Minister Eva Lawler MLA: Member for Drysdale has said, community safety, tackling cost of living pressures and providing opportunities for all Territorians are our priorities. These are what Territorians are telling us are their big issues.”

“We will be taking a good look at our key policies over the coming weeks, to make sure they are focused on our priorities. We won’t be shy about making tough decisions. We’re getting on with the job of representing Territorians, in the cities, regional towns, bush communities and everywhere in between,” said Paech. 

Paech was born and  grew up in Alice Springs. His mother is of Aranda, Arabana and Gurindji descent and his father is if German heritage. Paech was an outspoken LGBTQI activist before he was elected to the NT Parliament for the first time in 2016. 

Anti-Discrimination Law Reforms

northern territory convictions
LGBTI advocate Dr Dino Hodge (centre), with Hon Sandra Nelson MLA and Hon Chansey Paech MLA. Image: Human Rights Law Centre.

“As a little kid running usually barefoot around Alice Springs, I never dreamed that one day I’d be Deputy Chief Minister of the Northern Territory,” said Paech. “I wanted to be a cook, or a cowboy, or a truck driver. As I grew older, I decided I wanted to work towards making my home realise its wonderful potential, to share what I saw with my eyes and my heart. That’s my dream.”

In 2020, Paech was elected Speaker of the House –  the first Indigenous and out gay Speaker of an Australian Parliament. As NT’s Attorney General, Paech oversaw introduction of a draft bill to change Anti-Discrimination Act to ban religious institutions from refusing to hire or sacking staff from being LGBTQI. 

“Madam Speaker, I am young, I am gay, I am black, a true blue Territorian. I am a Centralian man, I am the nation’s first openly gay, Indigenous parliamentarian. I am eternally proud of who I am and where I come from, I own it and wear it with pride… I look forward to the day when this country will recognise my rights as equal rights, when I too can marry in my country, on my country, as a recognised first Australian,” Paech had said in his first speech in the NT Parliament in 2016.

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