Yingiya Mark Guyula

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Yingiya Mark Guyula

Member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
for Nhulunbuy
Assumed office
27 August 2016
Preceded byLynne Walker
Personal details
BornMirrngadja, Northern Territory, Australia
Political partyIndependent

Yingiya Mark Guyula is an Australian politician. He is an independent member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, and was elected at the 2016 Territory election, where he narrowly defeated the Labor member for Nhulunbuy and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Lynne Walker.[1]

Guyula was born and raised in Mirrngadja, and went to school at Galiwinku. His people are the Liya-dhälinymirr Djambarrpuyŋu of Arnhem Land. He worked in aviation as an aircraft mechanic, and gained his private pilot licence. He also worked as a senior lecturer at Charles Darwin University in its Yolŋu Studies program.[2]

Guyula is an elder and spokesperson of the Yolŋu Nations Assembly, which endorsed his candidacy for the 2016 election. He has campaigned for a treaty between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, in preference to the proposal for recognition of indigenous Australians in the Constitution of Australia.[3]

As returns came in on election night, Guyula gradually closed the gap with Walker, and eventually took a narrow lead as Country Liberal preferences flowed overwhelmingly to him. After a recount, he won by eight votes. His victory came as a major upset, especially given Labor's landslide victory at that election; Walker would have become Deputy Chief Minister had she retained her seat.

Shortly after the election, Guyula attracted criticism from the new Chief Minister, Michael Gunner after he claimed with regards to domestic violence that "A lot of the time, women start the fighting and men end up in jail".[4]

Shortly before being sworn into parliament, it was claimed that Guyula was a member of the Milingimbi Local Authority, and thus could be ineligible to run for parliament. The matter was referred to the Court of Disputed Returns.[5] The court dismissed the case on 1 December 2016, after reaching an agreement with the Northern Territory Electoral Commission.[6]

In early 2017 Guyula was strongly criticised by the Children's Commissioner after he used parliamentary privilege to name nine children taken into care by the Northern Territory Government, whom he alleged had been removed from their communities. Naming children in state care outside parliament is a criminal offence carrying a maximum two-year sentence of imprisonment.[7] The names of the children were subsequently removed from Hansard. Guyula defended his actions telling NITV that "I had to name nine children according to our law, Indigenous law".


  1. ^ "Effectiveness of state, territory and Commonwealth government policies on regional and remote Indigenous communities". Senate Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Yolŋu Aboriginal Consultants Initiative". Yolŋu Studies and Research. Charles Darwin University. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  3. ^ Wahlquist, Calla (11 March 2016). "Treaty push should replace Indigenous Recognise campaign, says Yolngu leader". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  4. ^ Neda Vanovac (2016-09-01). "Domestic violence view wrong: Gunner". News.com.au. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  5. ^ "NT Electoral Commission to refer Yingiya Mark Guyula's election to Court of Disputed Returns". Abc.net.au. 2016-10-20. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  6. ^ "Nhulunbuy MLA Guyula to stay in NT Parliament, NTEC application dismissed". ABC News. 2 December 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  7. ^ http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/nitv-news/article/2017/02/22/nt-families-department-slammed-not-following-protocol

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Lynne Walker
Member for Nhulunbuy