NOVA Peris has hit back at a Northern Territory Liberal Minister who claimed she would become a "maid" to the Labor Party.
Alison Anderson, an Aboriginal former Labor politician Tony Abbott last year attempted to draft to run against Warren Snowdon in his NT seat of Lingiari, claimed Ms Peris would be fetching tea and changing sheets for the party, The Daily Telegraph reports.
She also questioned whether the indigenous Olympic gold medallist understood issues of poverty in remote Aboriginal communities.
Ms Peris was only admitted to the Labor Party yesterday, a day after the Prime Minister announced she had ended the career of Senator Trish Crossin and would use the party national executive to place Ms Peris into the top spot on Labor's Senate ticket.
"We're only ok to be on the verandah of the Labor Party, but today they have a maid that will do the sheets and serve the cups of tea," Ms Anderson said.
Ms Peris said anyone questioning her "connection to country and the work" she has done for other Aborigines did not know her.
"I've worked with remote communities improving health and education not just in the East and West Kimberley but right around Australia," she said.
Alice Springs Labor Party branch president Rowan Foley, one of a number of high profile indigenous Labor members in the NT, rejected Ms Anderson's wording, but agreed with the sentiment.
"There were very strong indigenous (former) members of (the NT) parliament that could have been asked, obviously they weren't for a reason. I think the reason is because they are strong people who know how to stand up to the party machine," he said.
"That (maid reference) is not the language I would have used, but there is a difference between experience and inexperience. Why would you go to a doctor who has got no experience when you have got a doctor who is experienced."
Mr Foley believed the bid to use Ms Peris to stem an indigenous voter revolt which swept Labor from office in the NT in August would not help Mr Snowdon.
Indigenous politician Marion Scrymgour who was Deputy Chief Minister of the NT for Labor and who had planned to seek preselection said she believed her past criticism of the government ruined her chances.
"If Canberra is afraid to have a person stand up in a robust way, have the debate on behalf of people in the Northern Territory, then I don't want to be part of that process," she told the ABC.
It is understood Ms Crossin, a 15-year Senate veteran, who was yesterday chairing a committee into the government's new anti discrimination laws, had no inkling Ms Gillard and Labor Secretary George Wright had been planning to oust her for seven weeks.
She will still seek preselection.
"I have now realised that this morning the National Executive will be taking over the preselection process," she said yesterday.
"I intend of course to nominate and I would encourage any other Labor Party member in the Territory to nominate."
Read more at The Daily Telegraph.