Michelle Deshong, the 2015 Fullbright Indigenous Professional Scholar, was born in Townsville in North Queensland is committed to improving the lives of Indigenous peoples in Australia and abroad.

8 Jul 2015 - 12:45 PM  UPDATED 11 Jul 2015 - 12:15 PM

Michelle has dedicated herself to advance Indigenous rights, holding positions such as director of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service and Fair Agenda.

Michelle is undertaking a comparative analysis on First Nations women in governance roles during her Fullbright scholarship, which will be conducted with the Udall Center and Native Nations Institute, and hosted by the University of Arizona.

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Additionally she is using her scholarship to identify best practices for effective nation building and to ensure self-determination in line with the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

identify best practices for effective nation building and to ensure self-determination in line with the Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Michelle was executive director at the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre. She has worked at the federal government as a senior advisor in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. She has participated at the Heads of Government meeting, and was the national manager of the Indigenous Services Branch for Centrelink in Canberra.

She has been on two delegations to the United Nations, and was a member of the National Congress for First Australians in 2010 where she took part in the UN hearing for the Convention on Elimination and Discrimination against Women with the National Rural Women’s Coalition.

She was awarded the Runner Up in the 2012 Queensland Rural Woman of the Year and in 2013 Michelle was named in the Australian Financial Review/Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards. In 2001 she was awarded ACT Aboriginal Person of the year.

Michelle Deshong receives the NAIDOC Scholar of the Year Award

For 10 years she was executive director of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre. She was appointed to the Queensland Justice Taskforce in 2012 and has been an Australian Indigenous women NGO representative at Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Commission on the Status of Women at United Nations meetings.  

This work has prompted her interest in further research and development of gender equality principles and domestic policy development.  

Michelle has completed a BA Honours (First Class) in Political Science and Indigenous studies at James Cook University. She is in her final stages of a PhD on “enabling the participation of Aboriginal Women in public and political life in Australia”.  

Michelle received a University Medal and Dean’s List award from James Cook University.  

She has held a number of community roles such as the co-chair of the Canberra Bushfire Recovery Appeal and chair of Midtha Goothilans Indigenous women’s network in Townsville.

She is a proud mother of three children.