28 November 2023

Patrick Dodson is an incredible Australian and a distinguished Yawuru man.

Pat’s announcement that he will not seek re-election marks an end to a unique innings as an Australian Senator.

I first met Pat when I was working with the Australian Workers Union in Broome, in the early 2000’s.

There are many things that I’m proud of when I was the Leader of the Labor Party, however there’s nothing I’m more proud of than convincing and recruiting Pat to be a Labor Senator.

When announcing his entry to Parliament, I said that his elevation would be a win for Australia. I said…

“Pat will be a champion for the causes that he’s dedicated his whole life to, and I hope his advocacy and perspectives will continue to challenge all of us to face up to our shortcomings.

“It shouldn’t be strange or unusual for people of Pat’s renowned experience and wisdom to be given the chance to service in our Parliament, yet at the moment, it is.

“I am determined that this casual vacancy not just be an exercise in business as usual. I want Labor seize the moment, putting aside the rough and tumble of the party system to give someone of his remarkable qualities the opportunity to serve.”

Pat did not let us down. In fact, he made all Labor MPs prouder to be Labor.

Senator Dodson earned the title “Father of Reconciliation” in recognition of his national leadership while serving on the Council of Aboriginal Reconciliation.

Pat is a powerful voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and his passion for justice, equality and fairness was acknowledged with the 2008 Sydney Peace Prize.

My fondest personal memory of Pat is from a flight home from Garma in 2017, where Pat read Harry Potter to my then 7-year-old daughter, Clementine. It’s a moment my family and I will never forget.

Chloe and I send our best wishes to Pat in his recovery, and wish him all the very best for the future. We may lose Pat Dodson from our Parliament but his mighty legacy will endure and I know he’ll bring positive change to whatever he does next.