Deborah has been a long-time feminist activist. During her very successful classical musical career, she has championed the cause of women, in particular Indigenous women. She has received a number of awards for her community activism. She has recently been recognised by the Queensland Government and received an Australian Women In Music Lifetime Achievement Award.
Deborah has used her success in opera as a platform for speaking out on issues close to her heart, in particular creating opportunities for education and employment for Indigenous women.
Her first original production, the opera ‘Pecan Summer’, was a vehicle for the development of the careers of a number of both non- Indigenous and Indigenous singers, as well as providing training in theatre arts, and stagecraft. She also established Short Black Opera for Kids to build skills for Indigenous youth in regional and remote areas.
Deborah has been a visible role model for young women and girls, inspiring them to seek education and careers. She has shown women they can overcome disadvantage and be successful in even the most challenging of spaces.