Speakers Profile - Nova Peris

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Nova Peris is a descendant of the Gija people of the East Kimberley and the Yawuru people of the West Kimberley; the Iwatja & Gagudju people of West Arnhem Land.

Over the past three decades, barely a year has passed where Nova Peris has not displayed excellence in some area of her life. Certainly, she has seldom stood still, always determined to educate and re-educate, in order to give herself the best possible opportunity to not only develop her own prospects in life, but, equally as important, those of her people throughout Australia. Whether in sport, Federal Politics or any number of former and current work environments, Nova has remained at the forefront of the conversation for the best part of 30 years. In many cases, she has led the conversation. In 1997 Nova was awarded Young Australian of the Year by then Prime Minister Mr John Howard to add to her Order of Australia (OAM) title she was awarded in 1996.

Demonstrated Leadership
On 7 September 2013, Nova Peris became the first Aboriginal Woman elected to Federal Parliament, sworn in on 12 November 2013; her maiden speech highlighted the struggles facing Aboriginal people as well as her own unique life journey. As the first of many speeches Nova gave during her time in the Senate, hers was a strong, determined voice of an emerging leader who envisioned great things for her people. She was prepared to act as their voice, and she did this through various speeches on Aboriginal affairs, never shirking an issue: instead meeting it head on, with an honesty and connectivity that is sometimes absent from our political leaders.

During her three years in Federal Parliament, Nova travelled the length of Australia in her tireless endeavours to champion the causes and struggles facing Aboriginal people throughout the country. Pride in her Aboriginal identity is a vital ingredient in her fight for the rights of all people. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike, she inspires young people to take pride in who they are, but she also works hard at changing attitudes throughout the Australian community.

Demonstrated Commitment

Throughout her remarkable life, Nova has seldom ceased to further educate herself. The following timeline gives an awe-inspiring insight into how determined she has been to make an impact, and it highlights her remarkable ability to educate, re-educate, and to constantly seek knowledge in all areas of life. That Nova is only 49 years old shows how committed and hard-working she has been thus far. One can only imagine how much more she has left to achieve during the remainder of her extraordinary life!