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Dr Christopher Bourke grew up in country Victoria where his father was a schoolteacher. He graduated from Melbourne University in 1982, the first Aborigine to complete a dental degree. His postgraduate studies include Graduate Diplomas in Public Health (Adelaide University) and Oral Implants (Sydney University).
For 17 years, Dr Bourke conducted a successful private dental practice in Canberra. He also used his dental skills at a national policy level in his capacity as President of the Indigenous Dentists' Association of Australia and at local community level through pro bono work at the Queanbeyan Public Dental Clinic. In 2009 he was elected to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Dental Board.
Chris has a 25 year history as an active member of his local community. He was a member of Regional Development Australia (ACT) which advises the ACT and Federal Governments on regional development issues for the ACT; a member of the Campaign for Indigenous Health Equality (Close the Gap); and chairman of the Australian Dental Association (ACT Division).
From 1997-2003, Chris was Chairperson of the ACT Indigenous Education Consultative Body and from 1994-1998 Treasurer of the Public Health Association of Australia (ACT).
On 2 June 2011 Chris was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly as Member for Ginninderra. He was sworn in on 21 June 2011 and is the ACT's first Indigenous Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).