Voters elect first Aboriginal MP

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The Independent Online

An aboriginal man has won a narrow victory in Australia's election to become the first indigenous MP in the country's history.

Ken Wyatt, 57, was elected in Hasluck, Perth, for the right-leaning Liberal Party. Mr Wyatt, who has received hate mail during the campaign, told reporters: "In 50 years' time, historians and people will be analysing why Hasluck chose an indigenous candidate, and what they'll discover is that they didn't choose an indigenous candidate because I was indigenous. They chose a person they believed would represent the interests of everybody within Hasluck."

Mr Wyatt's victory over his centre-left Labor Party opponent – by fewer than 1,000 votes – puts the Liberals on 73 seats, while Labor holds 72. Both are short of the 76 seats needed to form a government, and are locked in negotiations with independent MPs to reach the victory tally.

The winning candidate in Hasluck dismissed the authors of the hate mail he had received as stuck in the past. "I've had that all my life," he said. "Let's move on from that – what's more important is the way in which we move Australia forward, and the thinking that we have, and the society that we build on."