Indigenous journalist and author Stan Grant has confirmed he has been in talks about running for federal parliament, but has not revealed his political allegiance and says he is not sure whether he would be “any good at politics”.
“Yes, I’ve had conversations with people,” the Wiradjuri man said, during an address at the National Press Club on Monday.
“If we don’t get involved, then we are nowhere. But is it me? Is it this year? Is it this time? I need to get a lot more things to line up before I make that step.”
Grant delivered a passionate and personal address at the press club, speaking about his family history and the “generations of injustice” experienced by Indigenous Australians.
“For so many of my people, Aboriginal people, this is true, there is a deep, deep wound that comes from the time of dispossession, scarred by the generations of injustice and suffering that have followed,” he said.
“And this wound sits at the heart of the malaise that grips Indigenous Australia.”
The Walkley award-winning journalist has had a prominent international media career and now says he’s “seriously” considering a future in politics.
An address he delivered last year on the topic of racism and the Australian dream resurfaced online ahead of Australia Day and has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people online.
The public reaction and support for that speech helped fuel speculation he would be approached by federal political parties. He said the ground has shifted since then.
“Would I be any good at politics? I don’t know,” Grant said on Monday.
“I do know that if people don’t stand up, we are nowhere. We can’t knock on the door. We can’t be the voice of protests shouting from the margins, we can’t pitch a tent outside Parliament anymore.
“Policy is only made in one place. If we want to make a difference, we have to get involved.”
Audience kept guessing on political allegiance
Grant has acknowledged “time is short” if he is to put his name forward for preselection, but he would not be drawn on which political party he would be prepared to represent.
“I’m philosophically driven to the idea that we cannot go on like this, that I can’t end my life where my life began with our people on the margins, locked up and dying. How can we live with this?”
Grant said Australia was the envy of so much of the world because it was prosperous and safe.
“People say ‘What’s the answer?’,” he said.
“You look outside and you say, ‘Here is the answer, you’ve already done it, but you haven’t done it for us. Someone’s suffering was the scaffold on which you built your prosperity’.”
He paid tribute to Indigenous politicians holding seats in federal parliament, but said that while he was not in favour of setting quotas, there was not enough Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in parliament.
The veteran journalist made a pointed reference to the Indigenous welcome to country, saying it was not enough to welcome politicians to parliament and then “disappear from the stage and let everyone else run our affairs”.