Mr HAYES (Fowler—Chief Opposition Whip) (13:34): This week I learned of the passing of Aunty Mae Robinson, a remarkable woman. Aunty Mae was an active member of my community, known for her generosity and her passion for teaching and culture. Aunty Mae is a descendant of the Yuin and Gamilaraay people, and a long-time activist with the Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council. As a mature-age student, Aunty Mae became the first Aboriginal to graduate from the School of Education—what's known now as Western Sydney University—in 1980. Aunty Mae went on to teach at primary schools in our locality, was involved in the development of the first Aboriginal studies syllabus in Australia and was appointed to education officer and consultancy roles with the New South Wales Department of Education and Training.
Aunty Mae made a significant contribution to the education system and worked tirelessly to provide Aboriginal young people with opportunities and access to education. Barney Glover, the Vice-Chancellor of Western Sydney University, described Aunty Mae as an advocate for the transformative powers of education, noting, 'Her influence as an educator has extended well beyond the Aboriginal community.'
I offer my deepest condolences to Aunty Mae's husband, John, who's been a very close friend of our family, and to their children, Chris, Stephen and Nigel. Aunty Mae Robinson made a difference for the better in our community.