She's accused Germaine Greer and Tim Flannery of racism, supported the Howard government's Intervention and gone into bat for the mining sector.
So it should be no surprise that outspoken indigenous academic Marcia Langton should accept a more direct role in the industry she has championed for bolstering Aboriginal employment.
Dr Langton has been appointed the inaugural chair of the Guma-ICRG joint venture, an East Pilbara mining services provider formed earlier this year.
The civil works and construction company has a blue-chip client in Fortescue Metals Group and $40 million under contract. Dr Langton said it also made a big difference to the lives of 30 to 60 families.
"They're much better off," she said. "People can put food on the table, they're motivated to send kids to school."
It has also enabled indigenous employees to do things for the first time, like holiday interstate.
"Indigenous people are not just joining the economy but joining society and getting to do things that other Australians do," Dr Langton said. "It goes beyond closing the gap, they're actually beginning to enjoy life."
The joint venture brings together the Nyiyaparli traditional owners and the Indigenous Construction Resource Group, a three-year-old Pilbara contractor chaired by prominent Aboriginal businessman Clinton Wolf.
The chair of Australian indigenous studies at the University of Melbourne, Dr Langton is an advocate of native title holders pursuing business opportunities rather than managing trusts.
She wants to convince potential clients not to be worried about doing business with a small company and an Aboriginal one at that.
"It's important to let people know that our clients are happy with our work," she said."We're getting bigger and bigger contracts. You just need to overcome that fear and trust in the figures."