Nova Peris
Nova Peris

PERIS: Until you're indigenous, do not criticise me

FORMER Olympian and retiring Senator Nova Peris has hit back at critics of her decision to retire.

In Darwin along Labor leader Bill Shorten, Senator Peris said: "Until you are an indigenous person, do not criticise me for the decisions I've made."

Senator Peris announced her retirement earlier this week.

Coalition Senator Nigel Scullion had criticised the timing of the decision and accused her of abandoning her constituents, but Sen Peris said she "did not call the election".

She said she had walked into parliament as "the first Aboriginal woman" and was leaving on her own terms, citing family reasons.

"It's not easy to wake up every morning and bounce out of bed and pretend life is fantastic, because it isn't," she said. "Aboriginal people have no inherited wealth, they have inherited pain, but we have a vision."

Sen Peris was preselected when then prime minister Julia Gillard overruled the local re-nomination of senator Trish Crossin in 2013.