Western Australian senator Patrick Dodson announces retirement

On Tuesday Labor Senator Patrick Dodson announced his intention to resign from his position, saying poor health following his treatment for cancer means he cannot continue.

The respected Indigenous leader, who is known as the Father of Reconciliation in Australia, selected 26th January 2024 as the date that he will step down from his position.

“I am grateful for the professional and kindly attention of many medical staff over the past few months, and I wish to thank all those people who sent their best wishes during my absence from parliament,” he said.

In his statement announcing his resignation Senator Dodson praised Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for proceeding with the referendum on The Voice to Parliament earlier this year, and also thanked former leader Bill Shorten for nominating him for the casual senate vacancy in 2016.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese praised Senator Dodson’s contributions to the parliament and public life saying he had “spent his life championing justice and advancing reconciliation.”

“A Commissioner into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the first Chair of Reconciliation Australia, and a Director of the Central Land Council and the Kimberly Land Council, he shone a spotlight on the gaping chasm in outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and put forward solutions grounded in policy reform.

“He also always sought to call attention to the deep connection Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples share with the land and waters and the incredible contribution they have made to our national life.” the PM said.

“Someone with Patrick’s record of service would have been more than entitled to spend his late 60s and early 70s on a beach in Broome. It’s a measure of the man and a reflection of his commitment to ‘unfinished business’ that he chose to serve Australia in the Senate.

“It has been my great fortune to be able to count Senator Dodson as a colleague, and my enduring happiness to be able to count him as a friend.

“I have benefited time and time again from his wise counsel, and he has taught me so much over the years.” Prime Minister Albanese said.

Patrick Dodson joined the parliament following the resignation of right-wing Labor senator, and former union leader, Joe Bullock.

When Senator Dodson was presented to the Western Australian parliament as the nominee for the casual vacancy, state Liberal member Peter Abetz broke with tradition and questioned the appointment.

Abetz called on Dodson to voice opposition to same-sex marriage, arguing that many Indigenous Australians did not believe in allowing gay couples to wed, and that Dodson should be a voice for their views.

Senator Dodson, who was a Catholic priest in his youth, joined the parliament and voted in favour of changing the laws.

OIP Staff


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