NACCHO #IHMayDAY15 News: Day of Action 29 May all matters Aboriginal Health


“We would like the day to provide a constructive critical discourse on Indigenous health.”

Dr Lynore Geia : James Cook University Nursing, Midwifery and Research academic

Announcing the program for Friday29 May

Below we announce the program for #IHMayDay15 on Friday – a day of action and listening on Twitter on all matters to do with the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It runs from 7am-10pm.

Please tune into the hashtag over the next few days and most especially on Friday: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are encouraged share their views and knowledge about some of the wide-ranging issues affecting health, and non-Indigenous people are encouraged to participate by retweeting and listening.

It is the second such event, following the successful #IHMayDay held on 1 May last year, which generated almost 26 million Twitter impressions in one day, and trended number one nationally on Twitter during the day.

#IHMayDay15 is moderated by James Cook University Nursing, Midwifery and Research academic Dr Lynore Geia – @LynoreGeia – a Bwgcolman woman woman from Palm Island; and by Summer May Finlay – @OnTopicAus – a Yorta Yorta woman, a public health practitioner and PhD candidate based in Canberra (more details are here).

We are delighted that Senator Nova Peris – @NovaPeris – will join the conversation throughout the day, and other politicians are also encouraged to engage.

NACCHO director, Canberra, ACT, 13th May, 2015

NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke ,

Matthew Cooke, chair of NACCHO, will guest tweet for @IndigenousX during the day, while Pele Bennet from QAIHC will make a special guest appearance at @WePublicHealth.

We also hope to have an interview early evening with Leeanne Enoch MP – @LeeanneEnoch – Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works and Minister for Science and Innovation, after she delivers the 2015 Annual Eddie Koiki Mabo Lecture at James Cook University in Townsville.

Her lecture is titled: Taking up space, taking our place – Indigenous participation in the political process. We plan to live-tweet the lecture.


Program (all bios can be viewed here )

7-8am: Lynore Geia

Introduction and reflection: looking backwards, looking forwards…

8-9am: Ali Drummond

Nursing’s contribution to Indigenous health.

9-10am: Summer May Finlay

#JustJustice: finding evidence-based, culturally appropriate and community-led solutions to over-incarceration.

10-11am: Sandy Davies

Tackling family violence.

11-12 noon: Mark Lock

How can policy processes be made more transparent and responsive to community needs and wishes?

12noon -1pm: Richard Weston

Healing works.

1-2pm: Les Malezer

Human rights and health.

2-3pm: Michelle Lovegrove

Racism in the media: a journalist’s perspective on what this means for health.

3-4pm: Kerry Arabena

What are universities doing to improve Indigenous Health?

4-5pm: Kelvin Kong

Hearing for health.

5-6pm: Adele Cox

On #SOSBlakAustralia and the health threats of community closures.

6-7pm: Sean Gordon

Health through empowering communities and self-determination.

7-8pm: Kelly Briggs

Women’s health.

8-9pm: Luke Pearson

Engaging with the Twitter community.

9-10pm: Dameyon Bonson

Founder of Black Rainbow: on Indigenous LGBTI wellbeing and suicide prevention.


Croakey moderator and journalist Marie McInerney is volunteering her time to cover the event, and will report on it at Croakey next week. You can track #IHMayDay15 stories here.

For coverage of last year’s #IHMayDay, see here.

Also check out this short film featuring some of last year’s tweets, made by Mitchell Ward, of Rock Lily Design & Consulting. We acknowledge and thank all those moderators and participants who contributed to last year’s discussions.

#IHMayDay15 is hosted by Croakey, and held in collaboration with @IndigenousX and NACCHO. Dr Geia encourages Croakey readers to engage with the event as an opportunity to contribute to strengths-based discussions and counter-narratives about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health.

Just some of our health professionals taking part , for full list see

Bios Professor Kerry Arabena is Chair for Indigenous Health and Professor and Director, Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit, and formerly the Professor and Director of Indigenous Health Research in the School for Indigenous Health, Monash University.

A descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait, and a former social worker with a doctorate in human ecology, Professor Arabena has an extensive background in public health, administration, community development and research working in senior roles in indigenous policy and sexual health.

Her work has been in areas such as gender issues, social justice, human rights, access and equity, service provision, harm minimisation, and citizenship rights and responsibilities. She was a founding Co-Chair of the new national Indigenous peak body, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, a collective voice to lobby governments on Indigenous issues.

Pele Bennet, General Manager, Queensland Aboriginal & Islander Health Council (QAIHC). Pele is a descendent of the Waggadaggam People from St Paul’s Village on Moa Island in the Torres Straits.

Totemic association: Kadal (Saltwater Crocodile) & Baidham (Tiger Shark). She was born and raised in Brisbane and is a proud member of the Indigenous community of Brisbane.

Pele is also a Director on the board of Queensland’s oldest community-controlled health organisation (ATSICHS), and Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee (AHPA) and director on the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA).

Pele continues to lead the way in innovation and building effective, multidisciplinary primary prevention capacity within the community controlled health sector. Previous to these positions, Pele has been an Indigenous Health Worker and has been employed within the health sector (both government and past employee of ATSICHS) for approximately 16 years.

During this time she has continued to maintain a clear sense of obligation to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers, families and communities.

It is not only part of her working role, but just as importantly as a Torres Strait Islander woman, mother and extended family member; it is her cultural obligation to address the priorities of her community to achieve better health outcomes and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Pele has also gained qualification in Bachelor in Health Science – Aboriginal Community Development from the University of Sydney.

Dameyon Bonson, Founder of Black Rainbow, Managing Director of Indigenist, and Advocate of Indigenous Genius, Indigeneity and Wellbeing.  I am a Mangyari and Maubiag man. A First Nation Australian of both Indigenous and Caucasian descent. I live where I have always wanted to holiday, Broome WA. It is also a place where I believe my academic and community engagement skills can transfer best.

I am a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP). I have worked extensively across the Kimberley region delivering upstream suicide prevention activities. My work is underpinned by liberation rather than benevolence or charity. I also work within an empowerment and recovery framework where the facilitation of an environment where myself and the client are viewed as allies is fundamental. I have a background in social work and draw on applying these learnt skills rather than intervening with them. I believe that there is capacity in everyone and that capacity strengthening is best practice and a non-oppressive approach in comparison to capacity building. I have presented nationally and internationally on Aboriginal men’s health, Indigenous Social Work and Suicide Prevention.


Matthew Cooke is a proud Aboriginal and South Sea Islander from the Bailai (Byellee) people in Gladstone, Central Queensland.

Matthew was elected as Deputy Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) in 2011, then appointed as Chairperson in November 2014. He was previously the CEO of Nhulundu Wooribah Indigenous Health Organisation Inc, the Aboriginal Medical Service in Gladstone, for more than 6 years. During this time Matthew served as the Deputy Chair and Secretary of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC).

In 2014 Matthew was appointed CEO of QAIHC

Matthew’s active involvement spans all four levels of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Sector – national, state, regional and local.

Adele Cox is a Bunuba and Gija woman from the Kimberley region of WA. Adele spent the majority of her early working life in the Kimberley region in media and in suicide prevention. Since 2001 she has lived in Perth and worked on a number of projects and initiatives. Most recently her work has taken her into Indigenous health research, having worked previously at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and as an academic at the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health and the Rural Clinical School of Western Australia at the University of Western Australia.

She currently works as a full-time consultant on various state and national projects, predominantly in the area of Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention. Adele has been an active member of several committees at both the State and National levels. She is currently a member of the Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, and the WA Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention. Previously she was a member of the National Advisory Council for Mental Health, the National Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children Steering Committee, the Oxfam Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reference Group, and the Taskforce for the Shadow Reporting of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. Adele is the former Chairperson of the National Indigenous Youth Movement of Australia.


Sandy Davies I am a proud father of eight kids and nineteen grandchildren. I am also a proud Nanda man of the Yamatji region, with a keen interest in football (particularly the Northampton Rams.) I am a keen supporter of all the young men who play football especially my sons, Cameron and young Sandy who are playing and Shannon and Brett who used to play football years ago, although Shannon may make a comeback.

I have an extensive history in Aboriginal affairs which dates back some thirty years ago, when I first took to the road with key people such as Leadham Cameron and Bill Mallard fighting for justice and a fair go for Yamatji people. My mentors include people such as the late Robert Riley and the late Leadham Cameron who were key people in my life, they left great legacies for this region. One of my other great mentors is Margaret Colbung who herself is a fighter for Aboriginal Health injustices.

I want equal rights for all our people when they are accessing health services provided by government agencies. I am passionate about social justice and making sure our people have a voice and the right to be heard.

Ali Drummond was born and raised on Thursday Island (TI) in north Queensland, and is a descendant of the Dauareb people of the Murray Islands and the Wuthathi and Yadaigana people of north-eastern Cape York Peninsula. In 2005, Ali was one of the three inaugural nursing graduates from James Cook University, Thursday Island Campus.

Ali’s nursing experience began in 2006 in the Orthopaedic Unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. Since then he has worked in most of Brisbane’s hospitals in numerous specialty medical and surgical wards and emergency departments. Ali’s pathway into nursing policy began in mid-2010 when he began work with the Nursing and Midwifery Office, Queensland (NMOQ) as a Nurse Project Officer. He has been in project management roles, as well as been the Indigenous Nurse Adviser to a number of Queensland’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers, and is currently an Assistant Director of Nursing in NMOQ.

When graduating in 2005 Ali became the inaugural recipient of the Sally Goold Award (for the most outstanding Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander nursing student), and in September 2012 received the Early Career Outstanding Alumni Award, both from James Cook University. He is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer with James Cook University, and also a regular guest lecturer with the School of Nursing at Queensland University of Technology. Ali is currently completing a Master in

Summer May Finlay Summer May Finlay is a Yorta Yorta woman who grew up on Lake Macquarie, NSW and currently lives in Canberra. Summer has extensive experience in Aboriginal health with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health organisations. She is passionate about #JustJustice because prior to working in Aboriginal health she was a youth and children’s worker and saw kids who never seemed to have the same opportunities she had.

Summer has a Bachelor of Social Science with a major in linguistics, Master of Public Health Advanced with a major in Social Marketing and is currently undertaking a PhD in Aboriginal health.

Lynore Geia. I am a Bwgcolman woman from Palm Island, Queensland, a mother, registered nurse, midwife, senior lecturer and researcher in Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition at James Cook University. I coordinate and teach the Indigenous Health subject to undergraduate and postgraduate nursing and midwifery students.

My current research activity involves working with my home community of Palm Island in partnership with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector. In 2012 I graduated with my PhD titled “First steps, making footprints: intergenerational Palm Island families’ Indigenous stories (narratives) of childrearing practice strengths”. The study encompassed decolonising praxis through privileging Bwgcolman storytellers to tell their stories that debunked the ‘master narrative’ of hegemony, and revealed a people of strength, survival and resistance.

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