Warren is the first Member of Parliament to represent Lingiari. The electorate was formed for the 2001 federal election. Warren's old seat of the Northern Territory was split into two seats, Lingiari and Solomon, to reflect the growing population of the NT.
Lingiari is the second largest electorate in Australia covering over 1.3 million square kilometres and all the towns and communities in the Northern Territory outside Darwin and Palmerston, as well as Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean.
Lingiari is the most interesting and diverse electorate in Australia, containing enormous variation in geography, climate and environment, from the deserts of Central Australia to the tropics of the Top End. Lingiari is home to some of Australia's most famous natural heritage sites including Kakadu National Park and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, both of which are recognised UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to their environmental and cultural significance to people in Australia and around the world.
More than 40 per cent of the population of Lingiari is of Aboriginal descent, by far the highest proportion of any electorate in the country. It is a place where Aboriginal Australians maintain and celebrate their culture and traditions both in towns and in the bush, and this cultural heritage forms an important part of the character of the electorate. Lingiari is also home to some of the great stories and events in the struggle for Aboriginal land rights and recognition, including the Wave Hill walk-off in 1966 and hand back of Gurindji lands to traditional owners in 1975 (see below).
The major industries in Lingiari are tourism, mining (bauxite, copper, gold and uranium), pastoralism, horticulture and fishing.
The Division of Lingiari is named in honour of Vincent Lingiari OAM (1908-1988), a member of the Gurindji people from the NT's Victoria River district. He was a stockman and a land rights leader who worked for many years to improve conditions for Aboriginal people working on cattle stations. Mr Lingiari was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to Aboriginal People. One of the most significant events in Mr Lingiari's life began on 23 August 1966, when he led the Gurindji people and others off the Northern Territory's Wave Hill station to a riverbed nearby. This strike would eventually reshape the agenda of relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and the wider community.
The Wave Hill dispute began after the station's owner refused Mr Lingiari's request that Aboriginal stockmen, who suffered appalling working and living conditions, be paid $25 a week. But it soon became much more, when the Gurindji people demanded the return of their traditional lands.
The strike lasted seven years. Over that time, support for Aboriginal land rights grew as the struggle intensified. The end result was an enormously important event in our nation's history when, during an emotional ceremony in 1975, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam poured the local sand into Vincent Lingiari's hands and handed the Wave Hill station back to the Gurindji people.
Warren devoted his first speech as the member for Lingiari to this great Australian.
For a detailed map of the Division of Lingiari, please click here.