House debates

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Statements by Members

Peris, Ms Nova OAM

1:53 pm

Photo of Linda BurneyLinda Burney (Barton, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I speak today to note for this House the achievements of former senator Nova Peris. In my first speech I spoke about standing on the shoulders and following in the footsteps of those before me; Nova Peris is one such set of shoulders. Her achievements and her status as the first Aboriginal woman in this parliament made history in a very profound way. Towards the conclusion of my first speech I listed all first peoples. A drafting mistake in the final version of my speech saw Nova's name not there—and it should have been.

Nova Peris's achievements, inside and outside this building, are to be celebrated. The wonderfully named Nova: a gold medal-winning Olympian and a representative of Australia's first peoples for well over 25 years; Young Australian of the Year in 1997. Being a part of the winning Australian hockey team at the 1996 summer Olympics saw Nova become the first Aboriginal person to win gold in the Olympics; she then won gold medals in the women's 200-metre and the 4 x 100-metre sprints at the1998 Commonwealth Games.

As if she had not done us all proud in the sporting arena, in 2013 Nova became a member of the other place for the Northern Territory. She advocated for the North and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She rightly earned a place in history for this role. I want to place on record my gratitude for her friendship and pay respect to the enormous contribution she has made to this country. That image of a young Nova Peris holding that gold medal— (Time expired)