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For the New Zealand international football (soccer) player, see Ernie Bridge (footballer). Ernest Frances "Ernie" Bridge (born 15 December 1936) is an Australian politician and country music singer.[1] He was a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly from 1980 to 2001, representing the electorate of Kimberley, first as an Australian Labor Party representative (1980–1996) and then as an independent MP (1996–2001). He was the first indigenous Australian to be a Cabinet minister in any Australian government. He is married and has 2 daughters and 2 sons. Bridge was born in Halls Creek. He was a pastorialist and businessman prior to entering politics, and was also a founding member of the Aboriginal Lands Trust in 1972.[2] He served on the Halls Creek council from 1962–1979. He contested the marginal seat of Kimberley for the Labor Party at the 1980 state election and won, defeating incumbent Liberal Alan Ridge becoming the first Aboriginal member of the WA parliament.[1] He was a backbencher for his first two terms, being re-elected at the 1983 election and 1986 election. Bridge was promoted to the ministry by Premier Brian Burke after the return of the Labor government at the 1986 election, with his appointment as Honorary Minister assisting the Ministers for Water Resources, The North-West and Aboriginal Affairs. This made him the first indigenous politician anywhere in Australia to serve in a ministerial portfolio. He was promoted in July of that year to Minister for Water Resources, the North-West and Aboriginal Affairs. He was shifted to the portfolio of Minister for Small Business in 1988 after the accession of Peter Dowding as Premier, but regained his old portfolios in 1989 with his appointment as Minister for Agriculture, Water Resources and the North West, a role which he held until the defeat of the Labor government at the 1993 state election. Bridge continued as a member of the Shadow Ministry after Labor's defeat in 1993, serving as Shadow Minister for Trade from 1993 to 1994 and Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the North West from 1993 to 1996. He became increasingly disgruntled with the Labor Party during this period, however, and he resigned to sit as an independent in mid-1996. He retired at the 2001 election. In 1997, he established Unity of First People of Australia, a non-profit organisation which assists Aboriginal people in Western Australia with employment within the law and order, health and education industries.[3] Bridge is noted also for promoting the concept of a water pipeline from the Fitzroy River to Perth. He later went on to promote a larger scale scheme including piping water from northern Queensland rivers to the south-eastern Australian cities. Discography [4] Sings Kimberly Favourites (EMI Custom, 1979) "Helicopter Ringer" (EMI Custom, 1980) Helicopter Ringer (EMI Custom, 1980) Live At The Concert Hall (EMI, 1982) Signs It Australian (EMI, 1983) Great Australian Dream (1990) Ernie and Noel Bridge 200 Years Ago (1994) References ^ a b Warren Bebbington, ed (1997). The Oxford Companion to Australian Music. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0 19 553432.  ^ HistorySmiths - Ernest Frances Bridge Profile ^ Ernie Bridge Biography – Webcast of 1st International Diabetes in Indigenous Peoples Forum – MultiWebcast “The State-of-the-art Webcast Services” - MULTIWEBCAST - State-of-the-art Webcast Services ^ Walker, Clinton. "The Singing Politician". Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music. Pluto Press. pp. 276. ISBN 1864031522.  This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful. (January 2008) Persondata Name Bridge, Ernie Alternative names Short description Western Australian politician Date of birth 15 December 1936 Place of birth Australia Date of death Place of death