Ms Linda Burney MP is a Wiradjuri woman who overcame extraordinary adversity to become an educator, senior bureaucrat and politician.
She was raised by her non-Indigenous great aunt and uncle at a time when black and white weren’t allowed to mix.
It wasn’t until she was 28-years-old that Ms Burney met her Aboriginal father and discovered she had 10 siblings she hadn’t known about.
Ms Burney began her teaching career in the late 1970s. She has been involved in the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group since the mid-1980s and participated in the development and implementation of the first Aboriginal education policy in Australia.
Later, she held prominent positions in the civil service and various non-government organisations, before entering politics.
When Ms Burney was elected as the Member for Canterbury in 2003, she became the first Aboriginal person to serve in the NSW Parliament. From 2007 to 2011 she served as a Minister in the Labor government in a range of portfolios, including Community Services.
After 13 years on the NSW parliament, Ms Burney won the federal seat of Barton at the 2016 general election. In doing so, she became the first Indigenous woman to be elected to the Australian House of Representatives.