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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Ministerial appointments for Indigenous Australians

Ministerial appointments for Indigenous Australians

NIAA Who We Are
Thursday, 02 June 2022

National Indigenous Australians Agency

Image of The Hon Linda Burney MP with His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) being sworn in at Government House. Minister Burney is wearing a kangaroo skin cloak over her shoulders. Image courtesy of the Department of Parliamentary Services, AUSPIC.

Image courtesy of the Department of Parliamentary Services, AUSPIC.

The Hon Linda Burney MP has been sworn in as the Minister for Indigenous Australians, following her successful re-election as the federal member for Barton in May 2022. Senator the Hon Malarndirri McCarthy was also sworn in as Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians and Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health. Senator Patrick Dodson will serve as Special Envoy for Reconciliation and the Implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Linda Burney, a proud member of the Wiradjuri Nation, grew up in Whitton, in south-west NSW and began her career as a teacher in Western Sydney after graduating as one of the first Aboriginal students at Mitchell College, now Charles Sturt University. She moved into education policy and was involved in the first Aboriginal education policy in New South Wales. In 2000, she was appointed Director General of the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education by Charles Sturt University in 2002.

In 2003, Linda Burney was the first Aboriginal woman elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, serving in a range of Ministerial positions in the New South Wales Government, before moving to the Federal Parliament in 2016, where she also had the honour of being the first Aboriginal woman elected to the Australian House of Representatives.

As a federal MP, she has served as Shadow Minister for Human Services, Shadow Minister for Preventing Family Violence, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services and then Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians.

Senator the Hon Malarndirri McCarthy is a Yanyuwa Garrwa woman from the Gulf country in the Northern Territory. She first entered the public sphere as a journalist with the ABC and more recently for SBS/NITV. Senator McCarthy was elected to the Northern Territory Assembly as the Member for Arnhem in 2005 and held a number Ministerial appointments in the NT Government between 2008 and 2012. Senator McCarthy has served as Senator for the Northern Territory (including Christmas and Cocos Keeling Islands) since 2016.

Senator Patrick Dodson is a Yawuru man from Broome in Western Australia. He has a long history of advocating for the interests of First Nations peoples, including as a Commissioner in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and Director of the Central and Kimberley Land Councils.

Senator Dodson also served as inaugural Chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and as Co-Chair of the Expert Panel for Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians. He received of the Sydney International Peace Prize for his leadership of the reconciliation movement. Prior to entering politics, Senator Dodson was a member of the ANU Council, Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame (Broome) and Co-Chair of the National Referendum Council.

He has represented the people of Western Australia in the Senate since 2016 and has served as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Assistant Minister for Indigenous Affairs Shadow Assistant Minister for Reconciliation and Shadow Assistant Minister for Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.