Page 2347 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013
school work at the Smith Family’s after-school learning hubs, acting as mentors for students taking part in the Smith Family’s mentoring programs, and making library bags and donating school stationery packs for disadvantaged students.
Membership of VIEW is suited to all women interested in meeting regularly, establishing lasting friendships and contributing to the community. So I commend Margaret Gooch and I commend the VIEW clubs and all of those involved in them in Canberra and the region, and indeed right around the nation.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Ageing) (6.30): It is with sadness that I rise today to present this condolence motion in honour of one of our nation’s most talented and long admired musicians and Indigenous rights campaigners.
I speak, of course, of the incredible Yunupingu, who sadly lost his long and courageous battle with kidney disease, passing away surrounded by family at his Northern Territory home on Sunday. He was only 56 but packed so much into those five and a half decades, leaving an indelible mark on this country’s community, musical and political landscapes.
Here in Canberra he had many friends and connections forged and fostered during years of campaigning and time spent in the capital. Yunupingu would come here to talk to political leaders, highlighting the challenges and triumphs of his Arnhem Land community, the Yolngu people, while also bringing wider Indigenous issues to the national stage through his award winning musical career.
A few years back he graciously agreed to appear as the headline act of our city’s National Multicultural Festival. It was an honour to have him represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians as part of the nation’s biggest yearly celebration of cultural diversity. His contribution that year drew thousands of people to the lawns of Old Parliament House to watch him and Yothu Yindi belt out their hits, including the worldwide smash Treaty.
When he sang that, the crowd that day moved as one, all mouthing the words to a song that, upon its release, garnered the spirit and determination of a better way of life for our country’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It was a message that echoed across the globe—Yunupingu’s voice reverberating from stereos and radio stations in countries spanning the full gamut of time zones.
In 1992, during one of his many visits to Canberra, he was named Australian of the Year for his role in building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, and he held that mantle with great pride. To Yunupingu, it was about continuing to spread the message on a more prominent stage, helping mend the wrongs of the past, paving the way towards a better future for his people.
But despite all the accolades, the eight ARIA awards, song of the year and being inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2012, it was his family that made him most