The Senior Advisory Group is guiding the Indigenous Voice co-design process, and provides advice and support to the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP.
Members of the Senior Advisory Group were appointed by the Minister with advice from co-chairs, Professor Dr Marcia Langton AO and Professor Tom Calma AO on 8 November 2019.
Senior Advisory Group members
Professor Dr Marcia Langton AO is a descendant of the Iman people and was born and raised in Queensland. She is an anthropologist, geographer and public intellectual. She was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy for her thesis on Aboriginal land tenure in eastern Cape York at Macquarie University in 2005 and a BA (Honours) in 1983 at the Australian National University. She was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Letters by the Australian National University in 2019 for her contribution to Indigenous Studies. Her work as an anthropologist, geographer and public intellectual spans almost five decades in the fields of political and legal anthropology, Indigenous agreements, engagement with the minerals industry, and Indigenous culture, filmmaking and art. Since 2000, Professor Langton has held the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne. Professor Langton is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, a Fellow of Trinity College in Melbourne and an Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College at The University of Queensland. She was appointed the first Associate Provost at the University of Melbourne in 2017 and was the first woman to hold the position of Chair of the AIATSIS Council (1992 – 1998). In 1993 Professor Langton was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for her service as an anthropologist and advocate of Aboriginal Issues. In addition to her academic work, her most popular books are Well, I Heard it on the radio (Short title), The Quiet Revolution, Welcome to Country. A Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia, and Welcome to Country. An Introduction to our First Peoples for Young Australians.
Professor Tom Calma AO is of Kungarakan and Iwaidja heritage from the Darwin region. Currently the Chancellor of the University of Canberra, a Professor at the University of Sydney and the National Coordinator for Tackling Indigenous Smoking he has served as Race Discrimination Commissioner (2004-2009) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner (2004-2010). He was a senior diplomat (1995-2002) and senior advisor to the Minister of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and awarded an Order of Australia in 2012 in recognition of his advocacy, work in human rights and social justice and distinguished service to the Indigenous community.
Ms Geraldine Atkinson is a Bangerang/Wiradjuri woman who has devoted her career to expanding the possibilities available to Koorie people through education. Beginning as a Teacher’s Aide in 1976, Ms Atkinson has been President of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated since 1999. Ms Atkinson was also elected as Co-chair of the First People’s Assembly of Victoria in 2019.
Professor Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO is a fellow of the PM Glynn Institute at the Australian Catholic University and Research Professor at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. He is the Rector of Newman College, University of Melbourne and has written books on Aboriginal issues. He chaired the 2009 National Human Rights Consultation and was a member of the 2018 Religious Freedom Review and in 1995 was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to Aboriginal Australians.
Ms Marcia Ella-Duncan OAM is a descendant of the Walbunja people of the far south coast of New South Wales and also has kinship connection with the Bidgigal people of Botany Bay. Ms Ella-Duncan has held senior state government and ATSIC positions, was Chair of La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council from 2009-2017 and participated in various high-level review committees. The first Indigenous woman to hold a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra and to represent Australia in netball, Ms Ella-Duncan was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 1988 for her services to netball.
Ms Joanne Farrell has recently retired from Rio Tinto after 32 years. She has worked with BHP and the Western Australian Government. Director of the Western Australian Museum, the Australia China Business Council and Royal Flying Doctor Service (Western Australia operations), a member of the University of Western Australia’s Senate and member of Chief Executive Women, Ms Farrell has led partnerships with Indigenous communities on skills development, employment, economic capacity building and agreement making.
Mr Mick Gooda a descendent of the Gangulu people of Central Queensland, he has advocated and represented on behalf of Aboriginal people for the past 25 years. Mr Gooda was the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. Immediately prior to taking up the position of Social Justice Commissioner, Mr Gooda was CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health for over five years and was appointed to the Eminent Panel for the Queensland Pathway to Treaty discussions in 2019.
Mr Chris Kenny hosts The Kenny Report on Sky News and is an Associate Editor at The Australian. He holds a BA (Journalism) from the University of South Australia. His journalism career began at The Murray Pioneer in Renmark, South Australia. He has worked for The News in Adelaide, ABC’s 7.30 Report, the Ten Network and Channel Nine Adelaide. In 2002 he became media advisor for then foreign minister Alexander Downer, before being promoted to chief of staff, a position he held until 2007.
Cr Vonda Malone is the first female Mayor of the Torres Shire Council. In 2018 Cr Malone was awarded the McKinnon Prize for Emerging Political Leader of the Year, recognising her progressive leadership in the Torres Strait. Chair of the Torres and Cape Indigenous Councils Alliance, founding Chair of Torres Health Indigenous Corporation, and a member of the Indigenous Reference Group for the Developing Northern Australia Initiative, Cr Malone has 22 years' experience working with the Australian Government.
Ms Alison Page is a descendant of the Walbanga and Wadi Wadi people of the Yuin nation. One of three associates of Merrima Design, she was inducted into the Design Institute of Australia’s Hall of Fame in 2015. Chair of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, Director of Ninti One Ltd and Australian National Maritime Museum Councillor, she was founding CEO of the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance, Director of the annual Saltwater Freshwater festival, founder of the National Aboriginal Design Agency, and member of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.
Mr Noel Pearson is a lawyer, land rights activist and Director of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, an organisation promoting the economic and social development of Cape York in far north Queensland. Mr Pearson played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Cape York Land Council in 1990, has led a number of major reforms for Cape communities and has served as a member of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians and the Referendum Council.
Professor Daryle Rigney is a Ngarrindjeri Nation citizen and currently serves as the Director of Indigenous Nations and Collaborative Futures Research, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research at the University of Technology Sydney. For many years he has worked on nation-building with Indigenous leaders locally, nationally and internationally, the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority (and as spokesperson on treaty negotiations in 2018) and Australian private and public sector entities. He is a Director of the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute, Senior Fellow Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity, a member of the University of Arizona’s Native Nations Institute Indigenous Advisory Council and previously served as a director of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation. In 2013 Professor Rigney was acknowledged as NAIDOC South Australian Aboriginal person of the year.
Mr Benson Saulo was the first Indigenous Australian to be appointed the Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations, and was the lead negotiator for the resolution on Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis on Young People in 2011. Mr Saulo was appointed Director of the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy in 2012. Former Head of Partnerships – Investments at Australian Unity, and Group sponsor of their Reconciliation Action Plan and former Youth Representative to the National Commission for UNESCO, Mr Saulo received the NAIDOC Youth of the Year award in 2014.
Ms Pat Turner AM is the daughter of an Arrernte man and a Gurdanji woman. As CEO of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, she is at the forefront of community efforts to Close the Gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. With more than 40 years’ experience in senior leadership positions in government, business and academia including being the only Aboriginal woman and longest serving CEO of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Commission, she was inaugural CEO of NITV and is the Coalition of Peaks Convenor and Co-Chair of the Joint Council on Closing the Gap. Ms Turner received a Member of the Order of Australia in 1990 for public service.
Professor Maggie Walter (PhD; FASSA) (palawa) is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Tasmania and teaches and publishes in the fields of race relations, inequality and research methods and methodologies. Professor Walter is a founding member of the Miaim nayri Wingara Australian Indigenous Data Sovereignty Collective and the Global Indigenous Data Alliance.
Mr Tony Wurramarrba is a Warnindilyakwa man from Groote Eylandt. Chair of the Anindilyakwa Land Council, Tony successfully negotiated a comprehensive mining agreement with BHP Billiton on behalf of traditional owners. He took the lead in negotiations to partner with the Commonwealth and Northern Territory governments to deliver major investment in the region, and is a member of the Aboriginals Benefit Account Advisory Committee, advising the Minister for Indigenous Australians on funding initiatives of benefit to Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.
Professor Peter Yu AM is a Yawuru Man from Broome in the Kimberley region with 35 years’ experience in Indigenous development and advocacy at the state, national and international level. Mr Yu was the Executive Director of the Kimberley Land Council during the 1990s, a key negotiator in the landmark Yawuru native title agreement, former Deputy Chair of the Indigenous Land Corporation, Chair of the Western Australia Aboriginal Housing Board and is a Board Member of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd, Deputy Chair of the AFL Aboriginal Advisory Committee, Deputy Chair of Broome Future Alliance Ltd and ANU Council Member.
Dr Galarrwuy Yunupingu AM is a prominent leader in the Australian Indigenous community, and has been involved in the fight for land rights throughout his career. Dr Yunupingu is the Chair of the Yothu Yindi Foundation and Gumatj Corporation. He chaired the Northern Land Council for 25 years from 1977 and was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the Aboriginal community in 1985. In 2015, he was honoured by the University of Melbourne with an Honorary Doctor of Laws.