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Hon. Linda Jean Burney

b. 1957

The Hon. Linda Jean Burney (b.1957) is a Wiradjuri woman and was the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the New South Wales Parliament, in which she became Deputy Leader of the Opposition and held shadow portfolios including Family and Community Services, Aboriginal Affairs, Sport and Recreation. In 2016 she resigned from her state post to become the first Aboriginal woman to serve in the House of Representatives. Burney worked as a teacher, education policy adviser and as Director General of the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs before being elected Member of the Legislative Assembly for Canterbury (NSW) in 2003. Between 2007 and 2009, she held Ministerial positions in the NSW Labor Government including Fair Trading, Youth and Volunteering, Community Services, the State Plan and as Coordinating Minister for the Department of Human Services. She has been a member of the National Social Justice Task Force of ATSIC and the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, and has represented Aboriginal Australians at the United Nations. Burney holds an honorary doctorate from Charles Sturt University. She was one of Riley’s closest and earliest friends in Sydney.

Updated 2017