Politicians more often than not stick religiously to the party line when it comes to key policy issues.
But for The Greens’ candidate for Grey, Dr Jillian Marsh, the issue of a proposed nuclear industry in South Australia is not just political – it is personal, too.
Dr Marsh is a traditional owner and elder of the Adnyamathanha people.
She endorses The Greens’ nuclear and uranium policy which outlines a future without uranium or nuclear energy production.
But she said that her Aboriginal heritage motivated her to take the role as candidate for Grey and fight against the proposed nuclear dump.
“I know this is something I have as an obligation as an Adnyamathanha traditional owner,” Dr Marsh said.
“I am required to step up to the mark ... to take this on board for the sake of future generations.”
One of the proposed sites for a low to intermediate-level nuclear waste dump at The Wallerberdina station, near Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges, sits on Adnyamathanha land.
Dr Marsh was involved in anti-nuclear protest marches through Port Pirie and Port Augusta recently.
She felt the the responsibility as a traditional owner and elder of the Adnyamathanha people to speak out about the federal and state government plans.
“Traditional owners, the Aboriginal people, have really had a gutful of this type of approach to community consultation,” she said.
“They are always facing the prospect of their culture and country being damaged, destroyed, abused once again.”
Dr Marsh said that the consultation processes and uncertainty put a lot of pressure on aboriginal communities.
“It creates a lot of ill-feeling in the community,” she said.
“This type of uncertainty and angst is one of the things contributing to the shorter lifespans faced by our people.”
The translation of Adnyamathanha is “people of the rock” or “people of the rocky country” and Dr Marsh said this sacred cultural connection is under threat.
“Our connection to the land is constantly being ransacked by ill-informed policies,” she said.