NSWALC congratulates Behrendt on national honour

NSWALC congratulates Behrendt on national honour

July 13, 2009

The Chairperson of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, Ms Bev Manton today congratulated Professor Larissa Behrendt on being named NAIDOC Person of the Year for 2009.

Professor Behrendt is Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Ms Manton said Larissa, an academic, writer and Aboriginal affairs advocate, is a Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman from New South Wales.

"Larissa has worked to advance Aboriginal rights on the national and international stage, as well as continuing her research into aspects of human rights and international law.

"NSWALC and the Land Council network were thrilled by Professor Behrendt's win and we are proud to count her as one of our academic leaders.

 "Larissa has tirelessly combined advocacy and diplomatic and academic roles. She has overcome prejudice and blazed pathways for Aboriginal people. Her academic achievements are an outstanding example of the high value we place on combining scholarly research with public engagement.

"This national award recognizes the profound impact Larissa has achieved as a leading advocate on issues affecting Aboriginal peoples as well as other Indigenous peoples around the world."

Ms Manton said at the international level Larissa had campaigned to put the human rights of the world's Indigenous peoples on the United Nations agenda and had actively participated in bringing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to fruition.

"It's impossible to sum up Larissa's contribution. Her academic roles only tell a small part of what she does and how much responsibility she takes on in fulfilling difficult tasks.

"In all of her leadership roles Larissa encourages and inspires Aboriginal people to work together. She has also gone out of her way to offer support to up and coming Aboriginal leaders

"Larissa does a great deal to celebrate and promote the achievements of Aboriginal people across Australia.

"She is also an outspoken advocate, one who is not afraid to criticise - at both a State and Federal level - and question where she believes wrong decisions have been made and policies and programs are ineffectual.

"For example, Larissa has had a significant impact in highlighting the deficiencies of the Government's Intervention Program in the Northern Territory ."

Chairperson Manton said Larissa had also published on property law, indigenous rights, dispute resolution and Aboriginal women's issues. Her book, Achieving Social Justice: Indigenous Rights and Australia's Future was published by The Federation Press in 2003. She won the 2002 David Uniapon Award and a 2005 Commonwealth Writer's Prize for her novel Home.

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Further information:  Peter Windsor  0400 554 603