I join with the Prime Minister in acknowledging the traditional owners on this magical land that we meet on today.
I pay my respect to elders, past, present and emerging.
To the Dilak.
To the leaders of clans.
To the immediate family.
To all of those here today.
It’s a privilege to speak at this commemorative service.
A service not just for one of the greatest Indigenous Australians, but indeed one of our greatest Australians – Yunupingu.
He’s rightly been described as ‘a giant’, as ‘a titan’ and as ‘a national treasure’.
As ‘wise’, ‘widely respected’, and ‘a beacon of inspiration’.
And as ‘strong, deep and practical’.
Such glowing characterisations are befitting the man who was an Australian of the Year and a Member of the Order of Australia.
In his advocacy for advancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights, Yunupingu was a pioneer who changed our nation.
His courage and commitment made him a trailblazer who inspired many after him.
And indeed, many to this day.
Without the Yirrkala Bark Petitions there would have been no Gove Land Rights Case in 1971.
Without that case there would have been no Aboriginal Land Rights Act in 1976.
Without that Act there would have been no Mabo Case in 1992.
And without Mabo there would have been no Native Title Act in 1993.
It is said the measure of a man is the worth of the things he cares about.
Yunupingu cared deeply about many things, as we’ve heard today:
He cared about his people.
He cared about his and their land.
He cared about justice.
That care is evident for anyone who visits north-eastern Arnhem Land.
In the mine – the bauxite mine, in other businesses, he established it to lift his people up.
In the Dhupuma Barker school he helped found to give Indigenous children the best start in life.
Indeed, the progress one sees in Gove reminds us of what can be possible for other Indigenous communities around our nation.
And that was his vision.
It reminds us of the power of the individual to make a difference.
Yunupingu’s presence will always be felt in what he built.
In what he did.
In Arnhem Land.
In the Northern Land Council.
Across the nation.
Australia is truly a beneficiary of a man who cared.
A man with conviction.
A man who showed us just how it was to exercise the best of one’s character.
Our generation’s admiration of Yunupingu will only amplify in generations to come.
Today, as we honour him and his legacy, I pass my deepest condolences on to the family and the beautiful presentations that have been made so far.
I acknowledge the work of those in this community who have dedicated their lives to his and to his vision.
To Denise and to Sean, to Klaus, to Petra, and to many others through you.
For the way in which you have honoured his life.
The way in which you have delivered for your people.
He will always be remembered and rightly revered.