Wednesday, 28 February 2007
MR Murray Chapman
- That the Senate:
- notes the sudden death of Mr Murray Chapman in Canberra on 23 February 2007;
- the contribution of Mr Chapman’s energy, commitment and dedication to the land rights movement during his long and distinguished career in Aboriginal affairs at both the national and the state level, with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and the Indigenous Land Corporation, and
- his appointment, in November 2003, as New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council Administrator, a position he served with distinction until his sudden and premature passing; and
- expresses its condolences to Mr Chapman’s family, the Land Council network and the broader Indigenous community.
I seek leave to make a very brief statement on the motion.
Murray Chapman, the Aboriginal administrator of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, passed away suddenly in Canberra on the weekend. He was aged just 47. His death came as a great shock to his family, to his friends, the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council network and to all those who knew him. I know that there are several people in this place who knew Murray.
Mr Chapman was appointed to New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council by the New South Wales Carr government in November 2003 following the sacking of the elected arm of New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council amid allegations of financial mismanagement. His appointment was an inspired one, albeit very controversial because there were many people in the land council movement who were deeply suspicious of an Aboriginal man who would accept an appointment after the sacking of the 13 elected councillors. But Murray moved quickly to allay their fears, and his energy, commitment and dedication to his work proved his appointment to be absolutely in the best interests of Aboriginal communities. In a statement issued from the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, CEO Geoff Scott said:
Murray regarded his role at NSWALC as being that of a caretaker pending the return of an elected NSWALC council and as a “change manager” for the organisation ...
He worked to ensure that when an elected council did return it was able, in his words, “to work with better governance policies and procedures, more efficient management systems and structures, and a financial foundation that better fits the organisation and the land council network as it serves our people into the twenty-first century.”
Mr Chapman’s work at New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council followed a long and distinguished career in Aboriginal affairs at both the national and state level with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and the Indigenous Land Corporation. For those who knew Murray and his formidable reputation, the sense of loss is both personal and professional. His death is a significant loss to the land rights movement, and Australia is the poorer for his passing.
Question agreed to.