I was born in London in 1956 and spent my early years between Malaysia and Malawi in Africa and England. I was educated in England and Australia.
Moving to the Northern Territory in 1985, I established professional fishing business following several years working in a variety of professions including mining exploration. Fishing principally to Spanish mackerel, I spent six years living off the Arnhem Land coast and was privileged to develop strong relationships with many individuals in the regions communities, before settling in Darwin in 1991. Hero became a partner in a company providing maritime salvage, security, and engineering and consultancy services.
I was also a leading spokesman for the Northern Territory's fledgling Fishing and aquaculture industries, representing Australian fisherman as chairman of the Northern Territory seafood Council and chairman of the Austrian seafood industry Council. Later I represented the international fishing industry as chairman of the International Confederation of Fishing associations.
I take a very grassroots approach to my work as Senator, engaging a wide variety of issues spanning across indigenous affairs, the Northern Territory's heritage and unique environment, regional health, education and training opportunities, agriculture, and foreign incursions into Australia's fishing zone.
I was elected to the Senate October 2001 and held a range of portfolios and positions both in government and opposition, including Minister for Families and Community Services in 2007 during John Howard's administration, Shadow Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and forestry’s, and Shadow Minister for Human Services. At the end of 2009 coalition leader Tony Abbott created indigenous affairs as a stand-alone portfolio, and appointed me as Shadow Minister.
On the 18th of September 2013, following the election of the Abbott Government, I was sworn in as Indigenous Affairs Minister.