Australia’s first Aboriginal woman elected to Parliament has made history again by delivering her first maiden speech in her native Aboriginal language.
Labor Party MP Linda Burney was one of the first of the new batch of MPs who spoke in Canberra. She spoke in the language of the Wiradjuri people, an Indigenous group from central New South Wales.
"The Aboriginal part of my story is important, it is the core of who I am. But I will not be stereotyped," Burney said in her maiden speech at the opening of the 45th Parliament, as a fellow Wiradjuri woman sang a traditional song.
Burney, the daughter of a white mother and an Aboriginal father, will represent the New South Wales seat of Barton.
She dennounced that Indigenous people in Australia are still suffering “disproportionately” high rates of poverty and "ill-health.”
"I was born at a time when the Australian government knew how many sheep there were but not how many Aboriginal people, I was 10 years old before the '67 referendum fixed that. The first decade of my life was spent as a non-citizen," she said.
Burney served as the New South Wales Deputy Leader of the Opposition and was also Shadow Minister for Education and Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.