Labor MP Linda Burney wants to stress that the stunning portrait of her unveiled at Parliament House this week is about much more than her.
“This is not just about a portrait of me,” she said. “This is about those who have come before me, and those who come after. This is about all of all of us, and I want to really stress that. There is a little bit of all of us in this painting.”
The portrait recognises her as the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, and was unveiled in Canberra with representatives from both sides of politics present.
Burney was elected in 2016, after an historic 13 years in NSW Parliament.
“I am humbled because I am reminded that we all serve in this place. We enter this place having been lifted up on the shoulders of many others.
Burney is wearing a striking red colour in the portrait, an outfit designed by Carla Zampatti
There are a number of portraits in the Australian parliament that represent significant first in politics, including one of Dame Enid Lyons, the first ever woman elected. A portrait of Julia Gillard was unveiled in late 2018, the only woman in a line-up of male former prime ministers.
Labor leader Bill Shorten said the fact it’s taken 119 years to unveil a portrait of an Aboriginal woman serving as a member of parliament is “embarrassing”, and noted that Linda Burney spent the first ten years of her life in Australia living as a non-citizen.
“You are an inspiration to every one of your colleagues,” he said. “You are an inspiration to women and girls, to First Nations people and to all Australians.”
I am humbled by this portrait because I am reminded that we all serve in this place, and we enter having been lifted up on the shoulders of many others.
“This is not just about the portrait of me, this is about those who have come before me, and those that will come after.” https://t.co/6Ne8yqx2J8
— Linda Burney MP (@LindaBurneyMP) February 13, 2019