PRE VALEDICTORY SPEECH - Senator Pat Dodson Main Image

By Louise Pratt

28 November 2023

I also rise to speak on this incredibly important report, produced under the custodianship of the wonderful Senator Pat Dodson, who I have been proud to serve with on the WA Labor Senate ticket. It is rather sneaky! I think he tried to get away without people having the opportunity to respond to a valedictory statement. There's only one way to deal with that, and that is to get in first.

The UNDRIP statement affirms that all peoples contribute to the richness of civilisations and culture that contribute to the common heritage of humankind. In that context, Pat, you have been such an enormous asset to our nation throughout your whole life.

The way you have elevated visibility of First Nations identity has created room and space for something that was long overdue in our nation, and that is for more Australians—and all Australians—to have the opportunity and the ability to identify with First Nations culture as a part of our own Australian identity. It's something you have taught me in spades, and it's something I feel richly rewarded by.

To borrow some of your own culture's words, Senator Dodson—through you, Deputy President—you have brought much mabu liyan to this place. Mabu means 'good' and liyan means 'wellbeing'. You have brought much mabu liyan to this place and to our nation.

Those words are what connect and create that sense of place and culture, which is where heart and soul are connected to country and connected to wellbeing. Your culture has taught me that in very profound ways. Senator Dodson has brought that in spades to this place, in terms of our own history and heritage as a nation, through the strength of the culture that he has brought to this place. I am deeply honoured to have served with him.