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Indigenous Senator Nova Peris Reveals Horrific Racial Abuse She Suffered

"I use to get [called] black bitch and n****r on the field."

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Northern Territory labor senator Nova Peris, Australia's first Aboriginal woman to sit in federal parliament, has spoken about enduring horrific racial abuse before entering politics.


During an appearance on the ABC's ABC's Kitchen Cabinet Peris says the abuse happened during her time as an elite sportsperson.

"I was playing in the Australian championships; I was in the Australian team and I had other girls who were playing for other states and I used to get [called] black bitch and n****r on the field. All sorts of pretty horrible names," Peris told host Annabel Crabb.

Before politics Peris was the first Indigenous person to win an Olympic gold medal as part of the Australian hockey team.

“I copped it heaps," Peris said, adding that, "here in this country I got more racism in Australia than I did on the international playing field."

"My skin just isn't black, it's pretty tough and I’ve had to deal with a lot of stuff".

In the episode, Peris also speaks about the racial abuse retired AFL player Adam Goodes endured before leaving the game, calling it sad.


"I think if you look at what happened to him [Goodes] over the years, people cheered him for his brilliance [as an AFL player] and it was just until he showcased himself as an Aboriginal man, and a lot of people turned against him, which is sad. My son looks up to him, that’s my son’s hero," Peris said.

Peris also calls the debate on whether to include Indigenous people in the Australian constitution as "frustrating" and "stupid".

Lukas Coch / AAPIMAGE

"It frustrates the hell out of me that we are actually having this conversation about recognising Australia’s Aboriginal people," Peris tells Crabb.

Peris, who has been heavily involved in the Recognise campaign, says inclusion in the constitution should be simple.

"I’ve just taken you around this country and showed you artwork that goes back thousands of years. We were here, it’s just sheer stupidity".

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Formerly with BuzzFeed News, Allan Clarke is a NITV reporter based in Sydney.

Contact Allan Clarke at

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