New scholarship for future Indigenous leaders


A new scholarship program at The Australian National University (ANU) and Charles Darwin University (CDU) aims to develop the skills of Indigenous public servants to become future policy thought leaders.

The Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Pat Turner Scholarship Program offers Indigenous public servants the opportunity to undertake fulltime postgraduate studies at ANU or CDU. The generous scheme sees scholars granted leave with full pay from their home agency for the duration of their studies.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC said the University was extremely proud to be involved in the program, funded by the Australian Public Service and spearheaded by Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM.

“We know higher education provides the analytical and critical thinking skills required to develop sound public policy to address the nation’s greatest challenges,” Professor Schmidt said.

“We also know Indigenous Australians are not always afforded the same opportunities to further their education.

“The expected outcome of this program is improved public policy development led by the Pat Turner scholars.”

Ms Pat Turner AC is a prominent Indigenous public servant, who served as a Deputy Secretary in Prime Minister and Cabinet and eventually rose to be the most senior Indigenous government official when she became CEO of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

“Pat Turner is an extraordinary Australian and it is an absolute honour for ANU to host a scholarship in her name,” Professor Schmidt said.

The Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Pat Turner Scholarship has been awarded to six public servants from around Australia, undertaking a range of postgraduate studies from PhD to Masters degrees.

“The Scholarship is an important and rare opportunity for future leaders to develop excellence in their chosen field,” Ms Turner said.

The scholarships were awarded to participants at a ceremony in Canberra today hosted by Dr Parkinson and the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Board.

A full list of scholars and their degrees is below.

For media assistance, contact Jo Meehan +61 436 605 635 or the ANU Media Team on +61 2 6125 7979 or at .

2018 Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Pat Turner Scholars

Anthony Cowley

Department of Social Services

Master by Research


Craig Leon

Department of Human Services

Master by Research


Martin Dallen

Department of Agriculture & Water Resources

Master by Coursework


PJ Bligh

Department of the Environment & Energy

Master by Coursework


Steve Munns

Department of Human Services



Deborah Katona

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Master by Coursework


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