CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Former Olympian Nova Peris says she was targeted by the worst onslaught of racial abuse she had ever endured during her campaign to become the first Aboriginal woman to win a seat in Australia’s Parliament.
But the threats did not deter her, and the 1996 Olympic gold medalist hockey player contested a Northern Territory Senate seat in elections Saturday. She appeared comfortably ahead in vote counting Sunday, but she was not yet prepared to claim victory.
Peris says the abuse came in letters and emails to her family home. She referred them to police.
The lack of Aboriginal representation in the Australian Parliament is a growing embarrassment for the leaders of major political parties.
Peris would be only the fourth Aborigine ever to sit in Parliament.