THE official portrait of Linda Burney, the first Aboriginal woman to become a Member of the House of Representatives, was unveiled in the Members Hall, at Parliament House this morning (Wednesday, February 13).
Painted by former Canberra artist Jude Rae, who was a past recipient of the Bulgari Art Award and, twice, the Portia Geach Award, the portrait was commissioned by the Department of Parliamentary Services for Parliament’s Historic Memorials Collection.
The Collection, Australia’s longest-running art commissioning program, was founded by Prime Minister Andrew Fisher in 1911, on the recommendation of artist Tom Roberts.
Since then, it has commissioned portraits of the head of state, governors-general, prime ministers, speakers and presidents.
Sometimes the committee will commission a one-off portrait of senators and members whose election represents a significant milestone in the history of the Australian Parliament and Burney was considered worthy of such a portrait.
A member of the Wiradjuri nation, she enjoyed a 14-year career as Member for Canterbury, NSW, the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the NSW Parliament. Burney was elected to the Australian Parliament as Member for Barton in 2016.
Flanked by opposition spokesperson for Families and Social Services, Burney said this morning: “I acknowledge and thank the Parliament for affording me this honour which I accept with humility and in doing so am reminded that we all serve in this place having been lifted up on the shoulders of others.”