Wednesday, 23 November 2022
Early this morning I received some terribly tragic news, and I wish to share with the Senate my sincere condolences to the families of Mr Hoosan, the Chair of the Central Land Council, who passed away unexpectedly in Darwin overnight. He was a young man who only recently took on the leadership role of the Central Land Council, as chair, in April this year—a very much loved and respected person who made such a contribution in his short time at the land council but even before that, in his previous roles in life as a field officer, police officer, health worker and also in his work with the Uniting Church at Aputula/Finke in Central Australia.
The news is absolutely devastating. My thoughts and prayers do go out to his families in Central Australia. In particular I mention his sister, Eileen, her daughter, Barb Shaw, and their families in Alice Springs, but also Stewart Hoosan, Nancy and Gadrian, their families in Borroloola, and many other families across the Northern Territory and into Queensland. I reach out especially to the staff of the Central Land Council but also to the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, who he was with, in terms of a board meeting in Darwin. I know that there is profound sadness and shock amongst the Territory community.
Mr Hoosan was associated with the CLC for many years before his election as chair this year. He was a member of the CLC executive committee, since 2019, and had been a delegate when he was younger. He was a youth worker and had been employed as a CLC field officer and, as I said, as a police officer and health worker. He was also a member of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council Watiku men's violence prevention group. He was incredibly passionate about making sure women and children were safe in their homes, in their communities, and at meetings wherever he was throughout his many years of dedication to his community and to the Northern Territory community.
Only a few weeks Minister Linda Burney, the member for Lingiari, Marion Scrymgour, and myself travelled to Watarrka in Central Australia to meet with the Central Land Council. Mr Hoosan was chairing, and over 90 delegates gathered there. It was an incredibly important occasion, as are most of the meetings of the Central Land Council. I guess I reflect poignantly on his leadership at that meeting and his warm welcome to all who entered to stand before the land council and be questioned. His compassion, generosity and warmth will always be remembered. I just say how deeply sorry I am to have heard this news. On behalf of our government and on behalf of the Australian parliament, I just want to acknowledge what a great contribution he has made to the people of the Northern Territory in such a short time. We're just so deeply saddened.