Linda Burney discusses the tragedy of losing her son on ‘Living Black’

Politician Linda Burney shares emotional accounts of losing both her partner and her son in a touching episode of Living Black, Monday 8.30pm on NITV.

Burney became the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the NSW parliament in 2003. In 2016 she made the move to the Canberra winning the seat of Barton in the federal election. She became the first Indigenous woman to be elected to the House of Representatives and only the second Indigenous person to be elected to the chamber following Liberal member Ken Wyatt.

She currently serves as the Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services, as well as being the Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians.

While Burney has had a successful political career, it’s been in front of a tragic backdrop. In 2006 her long term partner Rick Farley died when his wheelchair overturned outside Balmain Hospital in Sydney. He had been undergoing rehabilitation for a brain aneurysm he had suffered five months earlier.

In 2017 more heartache came to Burney when her son Binni Kirkbright-Burney passed away in October 2017. At the time Burney described him as someone who had worked so hard to conquer his demons.

“He has struggled with mental health and with addiction. He tried so hard to conquer his demons, as I and my family have tried so hard to support him in every way we could.” Burney said.

A month later Burney was back in parliament, shortly after Australians had shown their support for marriage equality via the postal survey.  Burney, who always been an advocate for changing the laws, rose in the chamber and shared a personal reason why she was in favour of the legislation before the house.

“I have never had a second thought,” she said. “It seemed to be so obvious.” she said of her support for LGBTI people and marriage equality.

“I support marriage equality as someone who has and has had loved ones who identify as LGBTI”, Burney said her eyes filled with tears, “To them, marriage equality would mean so much.”

“I honour these people,” she said. “In particular my late son, Binni.”

In a short preview of Monday night’s episode Burney shares what kept her going through the heartbreaking tragedies.

“Friends, women in particular.” she shares, before saying how she had an epiphany about how to lead the rest of her life after losing her partner.

NITV’s long running current affairs program recently returned for its 29th season. The award winning program unearths the most important issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

Arrernte woman Karla Grant has been producing and hosting the program for the last 18 years.  Grant recently commented on the show’s longevity saying, “There’s a reason we’ve been on the air for 29 seasons — we never run out of stories.”

“I’m committed to telling the stories of our people. Living Black gives Indigenous people a voice right across the country — my team are devoted to raising all issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Issues that are pivotal to our lived experience.”

Watch the program from 8.30pm on NITV and catch up on SBS On Demand.

OIP Staff

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