List of Indigenous Australians in politics and public service
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Numerous Indigenous Australians have been notable for their contributions to politics, including participation in governments and activism in Australia. Others are noted for their public service, generally and in specific areas like law and education.
Politics and government
Neville Bonner was the first Indigenous man to become a member of the Federal Parliament, when he was appointed to fill a casual Senate vacancy in 1971. In 1972 he was the first Indigenous man to (successfully) run for an election. Pat Eatock was the first Indigenous woman to (unsuccessfully) run for an election, in 1972.
Thirty-three Indigenous Australians have been elected to a state, territory or federal parliament. Thirteen of those elected have been women. Of those elected, seventeen have been elected to the Northern Territory assembly, six to the Australian Federal Parliament, four to the parliament of Western Australia, three to the parliament of Queensland and one each to the parliaments of Tasmania and New South Wales and one to the Australian Capital Territory assembly. Nobody of acknowledged Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ancestry has been a member of the parliaments of South Australia or Victoria or of the Norfolk Island assembly.
Neville Perkins was the first Indigenous Leader of the Opposition in the Northern Territory, as the leader of the Labour Party from 1977-1971.
Ernie Bridge was the first Indigenous Australian to become a minister in a government. Marion Scrymgour was the first Indigenous woman to become a minister and has to date been the highest ranked Indigenous woman in a government, when she became Deputy Chief Minister of the Northern Territory from 2007 until 2009. Adam Giles was the first Indigenous Australian to lead a government as Chief Minister of the Northern Territory in 2013.
Pat Dixon was the first Aboriginal woman elected to Local Government in Australia.
This list only includes those who held party leadership positions outside of a parliament.
There have been various leaders of the Australia's First Nations Political Party, however no candidate from this party has been successful in an election.
|Geoff Clark||led the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC)|
|Gatjil Djerrkura||Led ATSIC|
|John Gorrie||First Aboriginal male awarded a Public Service Medal, for his contribution to public service|
|Damien Miller||first Indigenous person appointed to head an Australian overseas mission — appointed Ambassador to Denmark, Norway and Iceland in 2013|||
|Big Bill Neidjie||Last Gaagudju speaker and central figure in the foundation of Kakadu National Park|
|Lowitja O'Donoghue||led ATSIC|
- Faith Bandler
- Gordon Briscoe
- Robert Bropho
- Burnum Burnum
- Kevin Buzzacott
- Paul Coe
- Essie Coffey
- Ken Colbung
- Marlene Cummins
- Chicka Dixon
- Mick Dodson
- Pat Dodson
- Gary Foley
- Pearl Gibbs
- Jacqui Katona
- Marcia Langton
- Yami Lester
- Vincent Lingiari
- Michael Mansell
- Yvonne Margarula
- Graeme Mundine - Inaugural Chair and Executive officer of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council. Co-authored the Catholic Church’s response to the 1997 Bringing Them Home Report on the Stolen Generations. Sentenced to three years in prison with an 18 month non-parole period for offences relating to five male victims in the 1980s.
- Jack Patten
- Noel Pearson
- Mum (Shirl) Smith
- Harold Thomas – designer of Aboriginal flag
- Denis Walker
- Galarrwuy Yunupingu
Lawyers and judges
- Lloyd McDermott – first Indigenous lawyer
- Bob Bellear – first Indigenous judge
- Sue Gordon – magistrate
- Linda Lovett - barrister
- Pat O'Shane – magistrate
- Matthew Myers – Judge, ALRC Commissioner and Adjunct Professor of Law UNSW
- Nathan Jarro – Judge of the District Court of Queensland
- Irene Watson - lawyer and academic
- Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, 1 April 2013 Archived 29 June 2014 at WebCite
- "Former Head of Aboriginal Catholic Ministry convicted of child sex crimes". NITV. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
- "Loading site please wait..." www.sclqld.org.au. Retrieved 3 June 2018.