NSWALC congratulates Senator Dodson on his outstanding legacy

22 January, 2024

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has congratulated Yawuru man Senator Pat Dodson on his outstanding contribution to public service and making a profound difference in the lives of First Nations peoples.

Late last year Senator Dodson announced he would be stepping down on 26 January 2024 after 7 years in the Senate. It comes after the `father of reconciliation’ had recent treatment for cancer, which left him unable to continue to serve, he said.

Senator Dodson was an integral player in the land rights movement, and was the director of the Central Land Council in 1985 and the Kimberley Land Council in 1991.

“We are losing a warrior who for decades has advocated for First Nations people, particularly in the areas of land rights, the Stolen Generation and Aboriginal incarceration,’’ NSWALC CEO Yuseph Deen said. “Senator Dodson has been a lifelong champion for our rights and his dedication to improving the lives of First Nations peoples will be sorely missed. Senator Dodson’s last effort as the Commonwealth Government’s special envoy for reconciliation and the implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart was particularly honourable given it was in the face of so much hostility.’’

Senator Dodson passionately spoke about the pain of the Stolen Generations, having watched on as many of his friends were forcibly taken from their parents. In his maiden speech, Senator Dodson said “I was hiding in the long grass in the Northern Territory town of Katherine and watched my age-mates being taken by welfare and police. In Katherine I also watched in fear as white people were bussed in to the town hall meeting, where they vented their hatred and anger against Aboriginal stockworkers for walking off Wave Hill Station and for demanding justice and equal wages.’’

Senator Dodson served on the Council of Aboriginal Reconciliation in the 1990s and was later a commissioner on the Royal Commission into Indigenous Deaths in Custody.

“The NSW Aboriginal Land Council wishes Senator Dodson health and happiness in his next chapter. We also hope the barra are biting,” Mr Deen added.


We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.