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Introduction

This assignment discusses about the biography, of the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander MP Linda Burney. She is the most influential person in her community and Australia. Linda is half black and half white Wiradjuri saviour of Indigenous people. She has an extraordinary political career including being the first Aboriginal woman to get appointed into the House of Representatives.

This biography of the early childhood of Linda along with other important stages of her life including her educational life, the beginning of her career, political career and appointments, Speech on the contribution of others in her life, and the legacy she carried throughout her political career will be given below. Moreover, a brief conclusion will be added in the end.

Discussion

Early Childhood

Linda Burney was born in 1957. From early childhood, she got separated from her biological white mother and also intersected with her biological father who belongs to the Aboriginal community. She then grew up in the small town of Whitton, under the Riverina region of New South Wales. She was raised by Nina and Billy, her great-uncle and aunt. These people were non-indigenous. Despite this, they taught Linda the value of respect, it is free to treat others with kindness. It was not easy for them to raise a half-white and half-black girl under the circumstances, in addition to that they did not have much. At that period, aboriginal people were not considered to any equal to non-indigenous people. Hence Linda, with the love and support of her uncle and aunt, struggled a lot to get to this place where she is now.

Educational Life

Linda studied at the school at Leeton. She had to do work of picking fruits alongside studying. Later, she won the scholarship and went to Charles Sturt University to study teaching. She was a meritorious student. The teachers were surprised by her performance at institutions as they did not have such expectations from a girl belonging to Aboriginal culture. Furthermore, she went to the Mitchell College of Advanced Education. Later on, she was taught in western Sydney.

The Beginning of Career

After completing her studies, she then joined the Aboriginal Education Policy Unit, under the new South Wales Department of Education in 1981. At first, she was appointed as a teacher in Western Sydney. Later on, she became an educational bureaucrat. Next, she became a member of the Director General of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in 2000.

Political Career and Achievements

In the early period of her political career, Burney served on the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and contributed to the organization of major initiatives like, the Sydney Harbour Bridge ‘Walk for Reconciliation’ in 2000. She was the ALP candidate for Canterbury of New South Wales state in 2003, where she gained victory effortlessly, and became the first indigenous person ever elected to the parliament of NSW state. Furthermore, she was positioned in the ministry, where portfolio responsibilities came to her shoulders, such as Youth, Community services, Fair Trading, the State Plan, and women (Cupitt, 2021). After resigning from the parliament of NSW, in May 2016, she then elected as the federal member for Barton, following a 13-year political career in the parliament of NSW as a Member for Canterbury. During her state political career, she was appointed as minister in a few senior portfolios such as Minister for Community Services, and later as Deputy Leader of the opposition. Burney has performed various shadow Ministry roles upholding ALP policies on Constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians, and domestic violence. In the election of the Albanese government in 2022, Linda was elected Minister for Indigenous Australians afterward. Linda was the first person from Aboriginal to enter as a member of the Australian House of Representatives. She was appointed to the cabinet by the PM, Anthony Albanese in May 2022, she has a crucial task for the implementation of the Uluru Statement, from the Heart. This includes the plebiscite to establish a First Voice of Native in the Parliament. From the moment she became the woman who holds the portfolio of being in this position among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, she has remained committed to Indigenous issues for more than 30 years (Deshong & Evans, 2020).

She was honored by Charles Sturt University as its First graduate belonging to Aboriginal culture, with an award of Honorary Doctorate in Education in the year 2002. Furthermore, she was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001, received the award of Director General for her outstanding Service by the Department of School Education in 1993, the Meritorious Service to ‘Public Education and Training award in 2010, and the NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014 (Barbour, 2023).

Speech on the Contribution of others in her Life

While entering into Parliament, the labour MP Linda Burney told her friend Lynette Riley to welcome her traditionally by singing the song of Aboriginal people before her maiden speech, has delivered an emotional and powerful speech that included her childhood experiences by holding the kangaroo cloak, she mentioned that the cloak tells her story, charts her life, her clan totem is on it, the goanna, and her totem, that white cockatoo, which is a messenger bird and makes noise. She said that she was raised by her great uncle and aunt, brother and sister in relation. They were non-indigenous people but shared great values, and passed them into Linda at a time when white and black were prohibited to mix. She admitted that without the love and support of her uncle and aunt, she would have ended up in institutional care where she could never have achieved all these successes, and could not be able to provide equal rights for her community. She acknowledged how brave were they and her situation could have been different if they had not made that brave decision to raise her in such a way. At a certain point in her life, she met with her biological father and came to know that she had 10 brothers and sisters. Throughout her life, she has not had any love or support from her parents (Barbour, 2023)

Her Legacy she Carried through out her Political career

Linda being a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation, she remained committed since the beginning of her political career towards preventing family as well as domestic violence. She shared her personal experiences from her childhood, about the struggle, and sacrifices she made to become the person fighting for the rights and place of Aboriginal people of Australia. She served on quite a few numbers of boards including the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, SBS, and the NSW Board of Studies. She has made clear that Indigenous people like her can be equal to others in Australia. Aboriginal people were telling how much she made them proud, and her appointment in the Parliament as a member as well as her speech meant so much to them. Many women of Aboriginal culture are inspired to study and work to make clearer statements on their identity. The number of Indigenous members appointed to the parliament has increased because of the impact Linda had on the people of Australia (Cupitt, 2021). She is working restlessly to provide respect, values, and equal rights without any discrimination for Aboriginal people. Indigenous people have the opportunity to study and grow and become an integrated part of Australia. Aboriginal people see Linda as their Hero. Domestic violence-related issues became less. Native titles of Indigenous people started to become an important matter to the government. As Linda belongs to the Aboriginal culture, some non-indigenous people tend to dislike her. The racist people discriminate against Aboriginal people, and their culture, strictly against providing equal rights to study and other factors available for Indigenous people. Despite all these factors, there are non-indigenous people like her uncle and aunt Linda who support her always (Harrison, 2023).

Conclusion

The biography is made out of the intention to provide authentic information about the influence of Linda as the first Appointed member of the House of Parliament on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The detailed information can introduce the struggles that Indigenous people had to face to survive as the native people of Australia. Furthermore, the initiatives taken by Linda have changed the perspective of the government on the Indigenous people. They are getting equal rights to study, right to provide their valuable opinions, be a member of Parliament. Surely Linda is a saviour of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Cupitt, 2021).

References

Barbour, V. (2023). The MJA supports an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament. Medical Journal of Australia, https://www.mja.com.au/system/files/issues/219_06/mja252074.pdf.

Cupitt, E. (2021). Radio Redfern, 26 January 1988. Aboriginal History,, https://web.archive.org/web/20220614121141id_/http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/n9914/pdf/02_cupitt.pdf.

Deshong, M., & Evans, M. (2020). AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND POLITICAL LEADERSHIP. In Pathways into the Political Arena: The Perspectives of Global Women Leaders. https://books.google.co.jp/books?hl=en&lr=&id=VZjqDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA223&dq=biography+of+Linda+Burney+australian+&ots=424Qq06FZ1&sig=cHOQy9GTiY2Rf4Y3NjUQ0OhuwyM&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=biography%20of%20Linda%20Burney%20australian&f=false.

Harrison, G. (2023). A voice for Indigenous people: A clear and welcome path to self‐determination and reconciliation. Emergency Medicine Australasia,, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1742-6723.14308.

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