|Member of the Australian Parliament|
|Assumed office |
2 July 2016
|Preceded by||Nickolas Varvaris|
|Deputy Leader of the Opposition |
of New South Wales
8 April 2011 – 7 March 2016
|Preceded by||Jillian Skinner|
|Succeeded by||Michael Daley|
|Minister for Community Services |
of New South Wales
8 September 2008 – 28 March 2011
|Preceded by||Kevin Greene|
|Succeeded by||Pru Goward (Family and Community Services)|
|Minister for Youth |
of New South Wales
2 April 2007 – 5 September 2008
|Preceded by||Reba Meagher|
|Succeeded by||Graham West|
|Member of the New South Wales Parliament|
22 March 2003 – 6 May 2016
|Preceded by||Kevin Moss|
|Succeeded by||Sophie Cotsis|
|Born||25 April 1957|
Whitton, New South Wales, Australia
|Political party||Labor Party|
|Spouse(s)||Rick Farley (dec'd)|
|Children||1 (m); 1 (f)|
|Alma mater||Charles Sturt University|
|Website||NSW Parliamentary webpage|
Linda Jean Burney (born 25 April 1957) is an Australian politician, who was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing Canterbury for the Australian Labor Party from 2003 to 2016, when she resigned to contest the federal seat of Barton. Upon her election, she became the first Aboriginal person to serve in the New South Wales Parliament. Linda Burney is also the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the Australian House of Representatives, winning the federal seat of Barton in the 2016 federal election.
Burney was the New South Wales Deputy Leader of the Opposition and interim leader of the Opposition and was also Shadow Minister for Education and Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. In the Keneally ministry, she was the Minister for the State Plan and Minister for Community Services. During 2008 and 2009, Burney was National President of the Australian Labor Party.
Early life and background
Burney is of Wiradjuri and Scottish descent and grew up in Whitton, a small town in south-west NSW near Leeton. She incorrectly claimed in her maiden speech to parliament that she did not become an Australian citizen until the age of 10, due to the 1967 referendum. In fact, the 1967 referendum had nothing to with citizenship, which had been granted to Indigenous Australians in 1949 (the first time an "Australian citizenship" separate to British subjecthood was established).
In her inaugural speech to NSW Parliament she said:
I did not grow up knowing my Aboriginal family. I met my father, Nonny Ingram, in 1984. His first words to me were, "I hope I don't disappoint you." I have now met 10 brothers and sisters. We grew up 40 minutes apart. That was the power of racism and denial in the fifties that was so overbearing. I now have two sets of brothers and sisters. I was raised by my old aunt and uncle, Nina and Billy Laing. They were brother and sister. These old people gave me the ground on which I stand today—the values of honesty, loyalty and respect.
Burney attended the local primary school in Whitton. She did her first four years of secondary school at Leeton High School and final two at Penrith High School. She was the first Aboriginal graduate from the Mitchell College of Advanced Education where she obtained a Diploma of Teaching.
She began her career teaching at Lethbridge Park public school in western Sydney in 1979. She has been involved in the New South Wales Aboriginal Education Consultative Group since the mid-1980s and has participated in the development and implementation of the first Aboriginal education policy in Australia.
She has held senior positions in the non-government sector, serving on a number of boards including SBS, the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board and the NSW Board of Studies. Burney was an executive member of the National Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, President of the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and is a former Director-General of the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs, and in 2006 she was elected National Vice President of the Australian Labor Party.
NSW State Parliament
When Burney was elected as the Member for Canterbury in 2003, she became the first Aboriginal person to serve in the NSW Parliament. In her inaugural speech to the Legislative Assembly she said:
I am a member of the mighty Wiradjuri Aboriginal nation […] Growing up as an Aboriginal child looking into the mirror of our country was difficult and alienating. Your reflection in the mirror was at best ugly and distorted, and at worst nonexistent.
She was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Training in 2005. Following the 2007 election Burney became Minister for Fair Trading, Minister for Youth, and Minister for Volunteering. In September 2008 she was promoted to Minister for Community Services and in December 2009 she was appointed Minister for the State Plan. She lost her portfolios following the change of government at the 2011 state election.
Burney was appointed to the Community Services portfolio in December 2008 just prior to the handing down of the report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services by retired Supreme Court Justice James Wood. She was the lead Minister in a whole of government reform plan, "Keep Them Safe", that commenced implementing the recommendations of the inquiry.
Following the ALP's landslide defeat at the 2011 state election, Burney was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labor Party after former Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt chose not stand for the position. She also became the Shadow Minister for Planning, Infrastructure and Heritage, Shadow Minister for the Central Coast and the Hunter and Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation.
As Minister, Burney was the inaugural patron of the NSW Volunteer of the Year Award, a major NSW Government supported initiative. In 2006 she gave the seventh Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture, and in 2008 gave the sixth Henry Parkes Oration.
On 1 March 2016, Burney announced she would stand for preselection to contest the federal seat of Barton at the forthcoming 2016 federal election. She was confirmed as the Labor candidate following a vote by the ALP's national executive. She submitted her resignation to the Speaker of the NSW Legislative Assembly on 6 May 2016, and was succeeded as the state member for Canterbury by Sophie Cotsis following a by-election held on 12 November 2016.
On 2 July 2016, Burney won the seat of Barton at the 2016 general election, becoming the first indigenous woman to be elected to the Australian House of Representatives. On 22 July, she was appointed Shadow Minister for Human Services.
- "Dr Linda Jen BURNEY MP". Parliament @ Work. Australian Government. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
- Browning, Daniel (12 January 2007). "7th Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture: Linda Burney MP" (streaming audio). AWAYE!. Australia: ABC Radio National. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- "Aborigines want more than a mention in Australia's constitution". The Economist. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- The Hon. Linda Jean BURNEY, HonDEd, DipEd MP. parliament.nsw.gov.au
- "New ALP president spells out her agenda". The Age. Australia. AAP. 28 January 2009.
- "The new ALP National Presidential team". Australian Labor Party. Archived from the original on 4 August 2009.
- "Making a Mark". Message Stick. ABC. 12 September 2003. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
- "Linda Burney, a Wiradjuri woman, was not considered an Australian citizen until she was 10 years old" Australia's citizenship saga resurfaces 'legacy of pain' for Indigenous MPs
- "The first decade of my life was spent as a noncitizen." First Speech: Hon Linda Burney MP
- "Inaugural Speeches: Linda Burney". Hansard. Parliament of New South Wales. 6 May 2003. Archived from the original on 31 March 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
- INDIGENOUS RECOGNITION AND CONSTITUTIONAL MYTHS - Sydney Law School
- The three biggest myths of the 1967 referendum - ABC
- "Burney, Linda Jean (c. 1957 – )". Australian Women. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
- "Linda Burney". University of Western Sydney. Archived from the original on 19 February 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
- "Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection in NSW". NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet. Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
- "Keep Them Safe". NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
- "Past Awards: Inaugural NSW Volunteer of the Year Award". The Centre for Volunteering. 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- Burney, Linda (17 October 2008). Weaving the Australian Tapestry: Creating a society 'of beauty rich and rare' from threads of harmony and contradiction (PDF) (Speech). The 6th Henry Parkes Oration. National Library of Australia, Canberra. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- Shand, John (10 January 2012). "Review: Archetypes evoke spirit of place". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- "John Robertson stands down as NSW Opposition Leader following leadership speculation". ABC News. Australia. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
- Kennedy, Jean; Tarasov, Anne (1 March 2016). "NSW Labor MP Linda Burney hopes to become first Indigenous woman in House of Representatives". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
- Keany, Francis (11 March 2016). "Federal Government prepares for MP in its most marginal seat to quit Parliament". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
- "'I am the first!' Linda Burney proclaims history for Indigenous people, women". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 3 July 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- Norman, Jane (22 July 2016). "Bill Shorten keeps Kim Carr on frontbench in shadow ministry shuffle". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- "Linda Burney takes leave from Federal Parliament to deal with sudden death of her son Binni". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- Linda Jean Burney MP – Parliament of NSW biography
- Keep Them Safe
- Burney, Linda Jean in The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia