UNVEILING OF THE HISTORIC MEMORIALS COLLECTION PORTRAIT OF HON LINDA BURNEY MP

Can I firstly thank Aunty Matilda, Lynette and Ann for that wonderful welcome to country, and beautiful words that you have said about me, and the significance of this moment.
 
Can I thank the Speaker – the Hon. Tony Smith for being here, and for your forbearance with me – it’s a fine thing  - and I promise I will continue in the way that I have conducted myself in the past two years! But I am really thrilled that you’re here.
 
Can I also acknowledge Scott Ryan - I am not sure if he’s been able to make it - the Senate President.
 
Thank you Bill for your words, and for being here, and being part of this launch. I’d also like to recognise you Tanya for being here, and providing such wonderful leadership - particularly as a role model for women, in this Parliament. Thank you Anthony for coming.
 
And all my colleagues, both Federal and State. I know that Meredith is here, and Kayee Griffin, who I served with, and Jo Haylen in the State Parliament. And my federal colleagues, I am absolutely thrilled that you’re here, it means so much to me, along with very special mentions, Patrick, Malarndirri – I know you’re busy in your house this morning, but it’s really special for you.
 
To my many friends – personal friends that have come today – thank you for coming. And some of you have travelled such a long, long way.
 
I want to especially mention my staff, and in particular Mark Boyd, who is a bit bald, but he’s a bit balder now after this – so thank you Mark for all the work that you have done, and for all my staff as well.
 
Thank you Kim for coming, my sister – you’ve gotten up very early, and of course Justine and everyone from the Parliamentary Services that made this happen.
 
And most particular Jude, thank you for your kindness, for your carefulness, and for I think capturing the essence of this Wirrajiri girl – so thank you very much.
 
Everyone, my comments are brief, but I’d like to just share with you.
 
This portrait has been a huge effort for many people. As I said, in particular thank Jude for this beautiful portrait – for her dedication, her vision, and for sharing with us your talent. And for capturing the subject I think very very well.
 
The painting of a portrait, everyone, is such an intimate exercise, and I thank you for the care and sensitivity that’s been displayed with you all being here today.
 
I want to thank the Parliament for affording me this honour – a truly humbling experience – of having this portrait included in the Historic Memorial Collection.
 
Beyond housing portraits of our Governors General, Prime Ministers, Senate Presidents and House Speakers, it is a particular privilege however, to have this portrait join a gallery of firsts. Dame Enid Lyons, the first female parliamentarian, and of course Senator Neville Bonner, the first Indigenous parliamentarian. 
 
On this occasion, the Historic Memorials Commission saw fit to commission a portrait of the first Indigenous woman elected to the House of Representatives – I can’t remember her name, but she is around I think.
 
I am humbled because I am reminded that we all serve in this place, and we enter this place having been lifted up on the shoulders of many others.
 
This is not just about the portrait of me, this is about those who have come before me, and those that will come after.
 
This is about all of us – and I want to really stress that – it is all about all of us. There is a little bit of all of us in this painting. It is also about those who were generous with their time, and those whose sacrifices have gone unsung and unannounced.
 
But in my heart and mind, everyone here has helped build this subject. Whether you’re a Parliamentarian, a friend, a colleague, someone that works here in the Parliament, I know many of you here because you see this as a historic occasion.
 
It is an honour to serve. We say that often, but we all know it truly is. There is something beyond oneself in that service. 
 
I am constantly reminded about the significance of the election of the first Indigenous woman to the House of Representatives – young men and women from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal and backgrounds understand what that election means to – because they tell me so - that it’s been important for them  - and that of course is extraordinarily generous.
 
This portrait is about First Nations Women. It is about First Nations People , but as I said there’s a little bit of all of us in it.
 
And in turn, I am driven in this place and energised by my work – of what young people - women and men –say to me.
 
I am grateful and honoured to have the Honourable Jenny Macklin unveil this portrait – and I thank her. I have known Jenny – I’ve said 20 years – but I think it’s probably longer.
 
She has been a source of wisdom, support and guidance, and full of generosity. Thank you Jenny, a true friend and colleague.
 
And as I consider all of you in this room – no matter what side of politics, not matter from what place you came, a true love to you all, a true friendship to you all, and a great collegiality.
 
I am extraordinarily proud to be here, and completely moved by this occasion. Thank you all so much.