|Member of the Northern Territory Parliament|
for the Electoral division of MacDonnell
|Preceded by||Dave Pollock|
4 January 1952|
|Political party||Labor Party|
|Relations||Charlie Perkins, Hetty Perkins|
University of Sydney
|Occupation||Public Servant and Founder|
Perkins is the grandson of Hetty Perkins, an Eastern Arrernte elder, and a nephew of Charlie Perkins. He is a descendant of both the Eastern and Central Arrernte peoples, and was born in Mbantua, Alice Springs. He attended Newington College (1963–1969), commencing in the preparatory school, Wyvern House. He is a graduate of the University of Sydney.
Perkins was an Labor Party member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 1977 to 1981, representing the electorate of MacDonnell. He was the first indigenous person in Australia to hold a shadow ministry in an Australian parliament, and subsequently became the party's deputy leader. Perkins resigned in 1981, not long into his second term. He later served as Secretary of the New South Wales Department of Aboriginal Affairs from 1987 to 1988. He is the Founder of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, a Founder of the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service, the first Aboriginal General Manager of Aboriginal Hostels Limited, and the first Aboriginal General Manager of Imparja Television Pty Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. Following Imparja, he was director of the University of New South Wales' Aboriginal Education Program. He has since worked at National Indigenous Television (NITV).