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Vanessa is an advocate for Human Rights, a lawyer, and has recently been appointed as the Inaugural Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People. From experiences in Out Of Home Care and facing injustices to becoming a Commissioner, Vanessa has devoted her life to empowering Indigenous self-determination and fighting for justice for First Nations people and children in Australia and worldwide.

Vanessa is a highly accomplished professional with a strong background in advocating for human rights, particularly focusing on First Nations children and young people, global Indigenous rights, and transnational solidarity. She holds qualifications in Law, Social Work, and First Class Honours.


Vanessa is also a Fulbright Scholar who actively builds connections on international and national levels in the realm of human rights, particularly focusing on Indigenous communities. Additionally, she is a doctoral researcher in the field of Law and Children's Rights concerning Family Policing and Statutory Out Of Home Care.


Currently, Vanessa is working on her first book 'Long Yarn Short', which will be available soon.

Vanessa's impactful advocacy as a survivor centers on amplifying the voices of Black Lives, Children, and Human Rights, offering crucial insights into addressing national injustices confronting First Nations communities. With unwavering dedication, she strives to eliminate discrimination and ensure the equitable representation of Indigenous rights. Vanessa actively promotes the transformative potential of intersectionality, emphasizing the significance of gender diversity, Indigenous People's rights, Human Rights, and Children’s Rights.


Elevating her distinctive international and national standing, Vanessa actively collaborates with partners, shapes policy agendas, and conducts evaluations to ensure comprehensive representation and inclusive discourse. She holds a notable position on the international Indigenous World Council for One Young World, advocating for global recognition of Australia through impactful research, keynote addresses, and plenary discussions.


Embracing diverse platforms, Vanessa has delivered compelling addresses at prestigious events such as After-Hours at the NSW Art Gallery, One Young World Summit, TEDx Speaker, All About Women at the Sydney Opera House, The Sydney Writers Festival, and Ngalu Warrawi (We Stand Strong) at the Australian Museum, in addition to numerous national health, suicide prevention, youth, and interdisciplinary conferences. Through her presentations, Vanessa encourages audiences to embrace truth-telling, showcasing her deep compassion for humanity and vision for a more harmonious world shaped by collective action.


For inquiries regarding engagement opportunities with Vanessa and to explore collaborations, please use the contact information provided below.

MY STORY, MY ETHICS- Lets Re-Imagine A Better World

Reimagining a better world is not only possible; it is our duty as survivors to ensure our voices are heard once we are free. Our unique lived experiences hold the power to change the world. Vanessa passionately believes that by sharing our stories, we can collectively envision a brighter future.


Embracing openness to listening and learning is an embrace of love and justice. It is our responsibility to liberate our families, communities, businesses, and organisations. Silence is a choice, but showing up for one another is where true power lies. It is the most impactful choice we can make.


Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts is a proud Bundjalung Widubul-Wiabul Woman, a dedicated Human Rights advocate, author, and writer. She holds degrees in Law and Social Work, culminating in a First-Class Honors thesis.  


Vanessa is a survivor of Out of Home Care, forcibly removed from her family at the age of 10.5. Understanding the history, pain, and truth, Vanessa uses her experience to share the importance of human rights, children’s rights, and creating a better world. Removed by the department, Vanessa shares her survivor story to navigate change and bring healing. Vanessa's critical thinking, speaking, and consultancy offer a new perspective of inspiration and action. Her motivation for studying law and social work was driven by the disproportionate impact of the law in her community growing up. With her past experiences of pain, harm, and trauma, Vanessa has witnessed the transformative power of generational strength and healing.

Vanessa's advocacy and work  was recognised with the prestigious Australian Human Rights Medal in 2019, conferred by the Australian Human Rights Commissioner. Her impactful acceptance speech saw global recognition and impact alongside her distinction as the Campaigner of the Year at One Young World Summit in Belfast, Ireland. Vanessa has also graced the TEDx stage as a speaker, attesting to her standing among luminaries in thought leadership, in addition to being celebrated as one of 10 Changemakers embodying courage and commitment to shaping a brighter tomorrow by Women's Agenda  among emerging Indigenous leaders in the Power Generation cohort, working with triumph over adversity.


A state is not a parent: Why the child welfare system fails | Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts 

Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts, winner of the 2019 Human Rights Medal

Art After Hours Online: Blak Douglas and Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts in conversation with Yumi Stynes


Vanessa’s compelling written work has been featured in esteemed publications such as The Guardian, Indigenous X, Junkie, and Victoria’s Women Trust. Renowned for her insightful commentary, she serves as a frequent media contributor and trusted advisor to various political entities, both internationally and nationally on matters impacting Indigenous communities and Children. 


For more details on Vanessa's written contributions, kindly refer to the writing publications listed below

UQP acquires 'Long Yarn Short: We Are Still Here' by Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts 

Real love is justice, and I owe it to the matriarchs who came before me 

I was 10 years old when I was taken from my home.

The stolen generations never ended: Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts

Trauma then and now: Implications of adoption reform for First Nations children

The history of black protest - tributes, highlights and where to next

Show Up for black Lives

If You Hate Being Called A Racist, Imagine Experiencing Actual Racism

The Stolen Generation That Never Stopped

There Is No Reconciliation Until Australia Acts On Indigenous Suicide

The onus is no longer on Indigenous Australia. Come and rise to change the nation

Meet The Activist Fighting For Justice And A Better Future


How can we envision a transformative future for our world? Is it within reach? In her thought-provoking presentation, Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts, a respected Bundjalung Widubul-Wiabul woman, guides audiences on this journey of exploration and action. Vanessa emphasises the crucial role each individual plays in demanding societal change, underscoring our collective responsibility to reject complacency. Known for her ability to mobilize communities through activism, influence audiences with her impactful speeches, and exemplify true leadership, Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts inspires us to imagine and actively build a better world.


Vanessa also offers specialised consultancy services in various areas, including Child Protection, Reform and Policy Evaluation, Strategic Implementation, Indigenous Rights, and Criminal Justice System analysis. To explore consultancy opportunities and engage with Vanessa's expertise, please contact us for further information.

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Bringing The People Together...

Key Takeaways: 

  • You will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to identify ways to support the rights and wellbeing of First Nations people 

  • The audience will walk away with resilience, strength and inspiration, listening and learning with a survivor who has done all she can to be in this very position. 

  • Recognise your contribution, and understand ways in which your organisation, company and community can gain greater knowledge and insight into re-imaging a better world that places values, ethics and justice at the frontline for change. 

  • Have the opportunity to listen and share with an individual who has both lived and professional experience and qualifications. 

  • The rights and wellbeing of children’s rights, Indigenous rights and human rights.

  • Motivated to create and practice a better world in your everyday life. Understanding that our skill sets are all unique, but together play a crucial role to demanding justice. 

Who this is for:

  • Educators

  • Organisations / companies with social and corporate responsibility ethics and those wanting to identify ways to improve their workplace with ethical values and standards

  • Human Rights Events and Organisation

  • Organisations looking to centre Indigenous / First Nations Voices and perspectives on the History of Australia, the impact of history and understanding truth-telling. 

  • Future women and intersectional events 

  • Organisations looking for intersectional perspectives on Diversity and Inclusion, Cultural Competency and building safe spaces for First Nations, LGBTQIA+ and other underrepresented groups.

Key Themes:

Politics, Key Notes, advocacy, speaking engagements, social and corporate responsibility  engagement. 


For enquiries about speaking engagements, consultancy, events, or press opportunities please complete the enquiry form below.

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