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Aden Ridgeway & pallbearers entering Sydney Town Hall, State Funeral for Kwementyaye Perkins AO, 25th October 2000

by Mervyn Bishop

gelatin silver photograph (sheet: 30.2 cm x 50.5 cm, image: 26.3 cm x 39.3 cm)

Aden Ridgeway (b. 1962), the only Aboriginal member of Federal Parliament, is the Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats and has been a senator for New South Wales since 1999, when he made his stirring first speech calling for national reconciliation. A man of the Gumbayynggir people, brought up by his mother, aunts and grandmother, he was a regional councillor for the ATSIC Sydney region and Executive Director of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council before he was elected to the Senate. Some Aboriginal leaders have criticised Ridgeway's willingness to negotiate on Aboriginal issues. However, many others have welcomed the politically moderate tactics he has adopted to keep the wheels of the reconciliation debate in motion.

Ridgeway was a pallbearer at the State funeral for Charles Perkins in October 2000, as were the former boxing champion Tony Mundine (behind Ridgeway) and Hunter Valley Aboriginal Elder Bill Smith (foreground).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2001
Accession number: 2001.178