Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister Senator Nigel Scullion has paid tribute to former Yothu Yindi lead singer, educator and great Australian Mr Yunupingu, who passed away overnight at the age of 56.
“He was a leader who helped bring his people, the Yolngu people of North East Arnhem Land, and Indigenous issues to the national stage.
“His death comes six months after being inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame last December.
“He won eight ARIA awards, including Song of the Year in 1992 for Treaty for which he will forever be remembered.
“He was not only a trailblazer in music, but also in education. He was the first Indigenous Australian from Arnhem Land to gain a university degree. He was the first Aboriginal school principal when he took over as head of the Yirrkala Community School in 1990.
“Mr Yunupingu co-founded the Yothu Yindi Foundation and was instrumental in setting up the nation changing event the Garma festival a great celebration and policy forum looking at ways to help Indigenous people overcome disadvantage and create a better life.
“He was named the 1992 Australian of the Year for his work as a musician and educator and leaves behind a wife and six daughters.
“As Tony Abbott said too many Aboriginal people die too young and it is a reminder there is much to do to improve health and living standards for our First Australians.
“I extend my sincere condolences to his family and to his friends. We have lost a great Australian and a friend before his time,” Senator Scullion said.
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