NAIDOC WEEK 7-14 JULY 2019

Larissa Behrendt

2009
Person of the Year

Lawyer and author Larissa Behrendt is a passionate and articulate advocate for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Larissa is Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at Sydney’s University of Technology.

Larissa’s academic achievements alone have made her stand out. After gaining a diploma in practical legal training and graduating from the University of New South Wales Law School in 1992, Larissa went on to graduate from Harvard Law School with a Master and then a Doctorate of Laws.

She is admitted to the NSW and ACT Supreme Courts and is a Judicial Member and Alternate Chair of the Serious Offenders Review Council and a Land Commissioner of the Land and Environment Court.

As well as practising law, Larissa also teaches the subject, finding time to mentor young Aboriginal law students. Her excellence was recognised in 2002 when Larissa was announced co-winner of the inaugural Neville Bonner National Teaching Award.

During the past decade, Larissa has provided a powerful insight on major Indigenous issues and government policies in Indigenous affairs.

She has written books and articles on property law, indigenous rights, dispute resolution and Aboriginal women’s issues. Larissa leads and edits various policy journals out of Jumbunna, and has a regular column in the National Indigenous Times newspaper.

Larissa’s first fiction novel, “Home”, received great reviews for helping people understand the complexity of life for Indigenous people in Australia. The novel won the 2002 David Unaipon Award, the 2005 Commonwealth Writer’s prize for south East Asia and the Pacific best novel award.

Larissa has recently been selected to chair a committee for the Australian Research Council.

Larissa is also the inaugural Chair of National Indigenous Television, Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre and Sydney Writers Festival as well as serving on the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

It’s a demanding schedule, but with her talent and drive, you can be sure that Larissa will continue to be at the forefront in the national discussion of Indigenous issues and policies.