An Aboriginal emergency doctor who snatched the bellwether seat of Robertson says having more First Nations members of parliament will create more inclusive policy.
- Gordon Reid snatched the seat of Robertson previously held by Liberal’s Lucy Wicks
- The Wiradjuri man is one of six First Nations people in the Labor Party caucus
- The 29-year-old is a former emergency department doctor
Wiradjuri man Gordon Reid, 29, was born and bred on Darkinjung country on the NSW Central Coast.
“It’s very special, it’s very exciting to be part of an Indigenous caucus,” he said.
“I think it’s very important because it can help guide and inform policy to make policy more inclusive for all Australians in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
Indigenous Labor MP and incoming Indigenous affairs minister, Linda Burney, talked up Mr Reid’s election victory, describing him as one of six First Nations people in the Labor Party caucus.
“Three in the Senate and three in the House of Representatives,” Ms Burney told David Speers on Sunday night.
The other Indigenous Labor parliamentarians were Marion Scrymgour in Lingiari, and Malarndirri McCarthy, Jana Stewart and Patrick Dodson for the Senate.
“It is historic,” Ms Burney said.
“If you had said to me … five years ago we’re going to have six people in the 2022 election, I would not have believed it was possible.
She said it would assist the caucus in tasks such as the full implementation of the Uluru statement.
Dr Reid also hoped being a younger member would provide another perspective for parliament.
“We need to make sure we’re acting on things like climate change [and] helping working families and people around my age who are a significant part of this community.”
His nan, Wiradjuri woman Robyn Reid, said he was a quiet achiever, could speak Indonesian and play the saxophone.
She had one piece of advice for him.
“I said even if your own party asks you to do something, you think about it,” she said.
From ED to MP
Dr Reid said there were significant similarities between medicine and politics.
“It’s about people,” he said.
“One of the biggest things in medicine is you have someone who has an issue and you have to find a solution otherwise there can be drastic consequences.”
He said his new role would involve solving people’s issues as an elected representative.
“It’s making sure we’re communicating with people from all walks of life,” he said.
Dr Reid used his medical experience to his advantage during the campaign.
His election material was branded with the reference “emergency doctor” and he highlighted the region’s chronic doctor shortage at any opportunity.
One of Labor’s campaign promises was to trial 50 Medicare urgent care clinics to take pressure off hospital emergency departments.
Robertson and the neighbouring marginal electorate of Dobell are each set to receive one.
Dr Reid said it wasn’t the only solution.
“It’s part of the bigger picture,” he said.
“There are many different levers we have to pull as a government to make it easier for people to access healthcare.”
He said he would always advocate for more health services.
“I’ll always advocate for good health policy … it’s a passion of mine,” he said.
Bellwether status retained
Dr Reid secured a swing of more than 7 per cent over Liberal incumbent Lucy Wicks, who had held the seat for nine years.
Robertson is currently the longest-held bellwether electorate in the country, won by the party that has formed government at every election since 1983.
UNSW political analyst Mark Rolfe said there was not much science behind the bellwether status.
“Robertson is a sort of mini representation of Australia at large,” Dr Rolfe said.
“The issues of Robertson have resonated nationally as well.”