Senator Neville Bonner AO

Some leadership lessons from Australia’s first Aboriginal Parliamentarian

The late Senator Neville Bonner (1922-99) was Australia’s first federal Aboriginal Parliamentarian, serving in Australia’s federal Senate from 1971 to 1983.

I decided to dust-off Bonner’s story in a recent issue of Policy Magazine, published by Australia’s Centre for Independent Studies, because to me his life and political success is a classic conservative example of rallying around principle over complexion. What’s often brushed aside in the few reflections of Bonner is that he was a member of Australia’s Liberal Party – Australia’s equivalent of the U.S. Republican Party or the British Tories.

I extracted three key lessons from his life that I feel appeals to the next generation of leaders, regardless of skin colour or social background.

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