Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin today paid tribute to Australian Rugby League great and Indigenous leader Arthur ‘Artie’ Beetson.
Rugby League fans will remember Artie as one of their greatest. On the field, he showed tenacity and determination, becoming the first Indigenous Australian to captain a national sporting team.
Off the field, he was a proud ambassador for Indigenous Australians, particularly for young people.
In his work with Indigenous youth, Artie sent a strong message that with a good education and hard work, anything is possible.
As a member of Former Origin Greats, Artie encouraged young Indigenous people to finish school and get a good job. He knew this was the key to a better life.
Artie was an impressive character in the rugby league community ever since he moved from Roma to Brisbane as a young man to begin his career. He will be missed by the many people who knew him, and the many people who followed his career and were inspired by his message.
Ms Macklin extended her sympathies to Artie’s family and friends, the rugby league community and the generation of young Indigenous Australians who looked to Artie as a true leader and role model.