Widjabul woman of the Bundjalung Nation, Cindy Roberts, has announced she will be running in the 2023 state election for a seat in the Upper House.
Roberts, who lives in Lismore, says the government is very disconnected from the people. ‘They’re out of touch. They don’t listen and that’s what made me realise that something needs to be done.’
Roberts believes the community has the balance of power. ’It’s up to the people. We need to stand up and say “we’ve had enough” – but to make that change, we don’t need to recreate the wheel, we just need to get more of us, independent candidates. Move away from the major parties in parliament – that’s what we need.’
Roberts feels that all the government cares about is profit and greed. ’It’s not about Country and it’s not about the people. We need this to change at a grassroots level, coming from the people.
‘The people should be at the top of the pyramid and the government should be down at the bottom because the government serves the people. That doesn’t happen anymore. The government looks down upon the people and oppresses the people, instead of working for the people.’
Roberts’ vision for the future
Roberts says the changes she wants to see are: First Nations Sovereignty and the Australian Peoples right to representation and protection; accountability within government and corporations; protecting our children’s future; protecting land and waters; protecting cultural heritage and sacred sites; justice, fairness, equality and protecting human rights; protecting wildlife and habitat; looking after communities, by supporting local producers, farmers and businesses; providing and supporting sustainable, affordable housing; building a higher level of self reliance within our communities; affordable access to childcare; supporting youth and looking after the elderly; providing support for those released from incarceration, to rehabilitate and reduce reoffending; raising awareness of and preventing deaths in custody; ending discrimination; improving mental health outcomes through cultural interventions and self determination; reviews into Royal Commissions and reforms into legislative changes, and; drug law reforms and keeping our communities safe.
Roberts says a very important issue for her is affordable housing. ‘I grew up homeless. I grew up on the streets, so I know what it’s like to be without. I know what it’s like to go from house to house. Housing brings stability and if you want to raise a family, and you want to bring up kids in a good environment, you need a home – a home that’s your, that’s your foundation. If you haven’t got a foundation for your children, then how are you supposed to raise a family, to hold that job? You can’t, if you don’t have a roof or somewhere to call home.
‘You have to have a foundation to raise a strong family. If you don’t have that, what have you got? You need that for your family. That’s why I believe in affordable housing.’
A strong belief in culture
Roberts says she believes strongly in her culture.’I serve the Creator. If I serve the Creator, well, I have a responsibility to also serve the people and that’s where I know that I can make a difference because I listen to the people.
‘I know the needs of the people, no matter how much money have – how rich or poor you are, I know their needs because when you’re a grassroots local girl and you’ve been there and done that, you’ve worked the land and you’ve milked the cows – you know.’
Roberts says life has prepared her for whatever life in Parliament might throw at her. ’It’s water off a duck’s back when they throw them bullets. I grew up in a tough environment, so I don’t think their little words are gonna hurt me one bit. And I’m ready for everything that they’ve got to fire at me, because I’m just going to tell it how it is. They’ve done nothing for the Australian people, they have failed this country. They have sold this country out.
‘I’m going to fight for what I believe in and for that justice. I think all Australians feel the same that this Australian government has failed us, let us down, let the people of this country down – on all levels, whether they be First Nations people or not – it’s ALL Australians.’
Roberts, who is heading to the Pilliga today to support that community’s fight against Santos and their 850 gas wells, says that the government is selling us out on fossil fuels.
‘I’m tired of this government ripping off the Australian people. They are taking this country for a ride. They make millions, trillions, from natural resources. There needs to be a big change.
‘Do you know what I’d love to honestly do? Kick the whole lot of them out. We don’t need to recreate the wheel we just need to clean it out and get rid of the rubbish and bring in strong independent people.’
Roberts and a small hand full of supporters are mounting this campaign and they are inviting like-minded people to support her on the path to parliament.
For more information, visit: www.mebbingarri.com.