Ken Wyatt’s Cabinet promotion welcomed

Reconciliation Australia (RA) welcomes the appointment of Ken Wyatt as the first Aboriginal person to hold the Indigenous Affairs portfolio and the first to hold a Cabinet position.

RA CEO, Karen Mundine, said the appointment of Mr Wyatt was particularly significant, coming at the start of National Reconciliation Week.

“Ken Wyatt is highly respected for his hard work over many decades for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly in the health and education sectors,” said Ms Mundine. “His elevation to Cabinet is a good sign that this new Morrison Government is serious about advancing the reconciliation agenda.”

“It is also further evidence that reconciliation is neither partisan, nor owned by one side of politics,” she said. “On this 2019 National Reconciliation Week, Mr Wyatt’s appointment will be a confidence-booster for the vast majority of Australians who support our vision for a truly just, equitable and reconciled Australia – according to the latest Australian Reconciliation Barometer, 90% of Australians believe the relationship between First Peoples and other Australians is important.”

“Mr Wyatt’s appointment and the signing, prior to the election, of an historic partnership agreement with First Nations peak bodies to design, implement and evaluate new COAG closing the gap targets are sign-posts that the Prime Minister is serious in finding a way forward,” said Ms Mundine

Ms Mundine was also heartened by the Prime Minister’s reported comments on the weekend that he is ‘committed to getting an outcome on constitutional recognition’. “It’s important that the Voice to Parliament is progressed in this term of parliament and that the Prime Minister work with First Peoples to lead that process to a referendum,” Ms Mundine said.

“Reconciliation Australia looks forward to working with the Prime Minister, Minister Wyatt and his Cabinet colleagues in the new Morrison Government to ensure that the reconciliation aspirations of both First Nations people and the wider Australian public are met,” concluded Ms Mundine.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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