National

NT senator reveals shocking threats, abuse

By AAP Newswire

A Labor senator has revealed she has been threatened with death and gang rape, during an emotional address to federal parliament.

Indigenous Northern Territory senator Malarndirri McCarthy fought back tears as she told the chamber about a person peppering her offices with the shocking intimidation.

"When it comes to rape threats and death threats my family has been struggling to cope out of deep concern for me," she told parliament.

Next month, it will be two years since the abusive calls began.

"The tone of the constituent calls took a turn for the worse. Call after call, message after message on my answering machine," Senator McCarthy said.

"Both my Canberra office and my Darwin office became an obsessive focus of the caller so fixated on wanting to inflict pain, until finally I said enough.

"In my nearly 15 years since becoming a Labor member in both the Northern Territory and now federal parliament, I have never had to be concerned daily for my personal safety until now."

The Australian Federal Police now attend public events with the Labor backbencher for her protection.

There's a personal protection order in place for Senator McCarthy.

"The rough and tumble of political debate and political life is often seen as an expected part of our job description," she said.

"But threats of violence, graphic threats of being gang raped and beaten, and threats of being killed for doing our job, for being a public figure, is reprehensible."

She said threats against people were designed to maximise fear and put victims in a prison of impending danger.

"Threats of executing me in the federal parliament has been taken seriously by the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives," Senator McCarthy said.

The NT senator revealed Labor colleague and indigenous leader Pat Dodson has received similar threats.

"The impact on families is unimaginable," she said.

"Serving with a heart of love is the only way to overcome such hate."