Sue Gordon joined the Jawun Board in February 2010.
Sue was taken from her mother aged 4 years in 1947 under Government policies relating to part-Aboriginal children, her family found her over 30 years later. She has served time in the defence forces as a full-time soldier, worked around Australia in various administrative positions, worked for over 14 years in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, for Aboriginal people.
She was appointed Commissioner of Aboriginal Planning in Western Australia in 1986 making her the first Aboriginal person in WA to head a Government department. She was appointed a Magistrate of the Children’s Court of WA in 1988 making her the first Aboriginal Magistrate in WA. Sue retired in September 2008 under Western Australian law at age 65 years, and she had served over 20 years.
She was one of the first appointed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Commissioners in 1990, has sat on various boards and committees around Australia and is a member of a wide range of organisations. She was awarded an Order of Australia – the Australia Medal in 1993 for her work with Aboriginal people and the community generally. She was awarded the Centenary Medial in 2003 and the Defence Service Medal in 2006.
Sue has a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Australia, which she completed as a mature-aged student and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in 2003 (also by the University of Western Australia) for her services to the community and Aboriginal people.
In 2001, Sue became the Chairperson of the Sister Kate’s Children 1934 to 1953 Aboriginal Corporation, which has among its objects the building of Aged Persons Units at the Institution she grew up in. She is still the Chairperson.
In 2002 she was the Chairperson of the Inquiry into Response by Government Agencies to Complaints of Family Violence and Child Abuse in Aboriginal Communities in Western Australia, otherwise known as the Gordon Inquiry.
In 2004 Sue was appointed as Chairperson of the National Indigenous Council (NIC) under the Howard Government (the Council ceased under the Rudd Government in December 2007). In June 2007 she was appointed as Chairperson of the Prime Minister Howard’s Northern Territory Emergency Response Taskforce for a period of 12 months. Sue sits on a variety of other Boards and Committees around Australia.
She has travelled extensively overseas and within Australia, and is a frequent guest speaker on the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal people, family violence and child abuse, as well as other topics.