” Malcolm Turnbull has moved to put his stamp on indigenous affairs, appointing a strong six-member advisory council to replace the Tony Abbott-devised body that was left in limbo when its term expired last month.
Announcing the all-Indigenous panel, which he described as a “refresh” of the 12-person group created in 2013, the Prime Minister said it reflected “the expertise and innovation that exist in Indigenous Australia”.
Read full press release here
Appointed for three years, it includes two carryover members in Baniyala traditional owner Djambawa Marawilli and Ngiare Brown, professor of indigenous health at the University of Wollongong in NSW.
Joining them are 2017 Northern Territory Australian of the Year Andrea Mason and indigenous educationalist Chris Sarra, founder of the Stronger Smarter Institute and the 2016 NAIDOC Person of the Year.
Winun Ngari Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Susan Murphy and NSW Aboriginal Land Council chairman Roy Ah See round out the list.
Mr Turnbull had faced criticism for allowing the previous body’s term to expire without any statement of what would replace it, but yesterday’s announcement was described as “part of a two-staged appointment process”, with the new members to “meet and provide advice to the government on the final make-up of the council and its terms of reference”.
He said this was to include engaging with other indigenous Australians keen to sit on the council. National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples co-chair Rod Little said yesterday he “welcomed this opportunity” for the government to deal directly with the peak indigenous body.
In a joint statement, Mr Turnbull and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion thanked the previous chairman Warren Mundine for his service and said they “looked forward to continuing to work with former council members, seeking their guidance, experience and expertise”.
Professor Sarra challenged Mr Turnbull when receiving his NAIDOC award at a gala event in Darwin last July to discuss a treaty whenever he found “the courage”.
“When you are ready, and when you have the courage and you are bold enough, I am ready on behalf of my people and my people are ready to speak with you about a treaty,” said Professor Sarra, who became the first Aboriginal school principal when he took the reins at Cherbourg State School in 1998.
Indigenous Advisory Council Bio’s
Members of the Council are highly respected in their chosen fields and will ensure the Council is able to provide the Government with a range of expert advice to help deliver better outcomes for Indigenous people
Area of expertise: Health and Wellbeing
Professor Ngiare Brown is a Yuin nation woman from the South Coast of NSW. She is a senior Aboriginal medical practitioner with qualifications in medicine, public health and primary care, and has studied bioethics, medical law and human rights. She was the first identified Aboriginal medical graduate from NSW, and is one of the first Aboriginal doctors in Australia. Professor Brown is a founding member and was Foundation CEO of the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association.
See recent NACCHO TV interview
Area of expertise: Education
Professor Sarra became the first Aboriginal principal at Cherbourg State School in 1998, holds a Diploma of Teaching, a Bachelor of Education, a Master of Education, an Executive Masters in Public Administration from the Australia New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), and a PhD in Psychology at Murdoch University. Professor Sarra is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and an Honorary Fellow of the School of Ethical Leadership at the Melbourne Business School. In 2006, he established the Indigenous Education Leadership Institute, the forerunner to the Stronger Smarter Institute. In 2016, Professor Sarra was awarded NAIDOC Person of the Year, and has previously been a finalist for Australian of the Year in 2004 and 2010.
Area of expertise: Community safety
Ms Andrea Mason is the current Northern Territory Australian of the Year and was awarded the Australian Businesswomen of the Year in 2016. Ms Mason is CEO of the NPY Women’s Council – an organisation committed to delivering youth and wellbeing programmes and addressing domestic and family violence.
Area of expertise: Employment
Ms Andrea Murphy is the CEO of Winun Ngari Aboriginal Corporation, the largest community development provider for remote Aboriginal communities in the West Kimberley. Ms Murphy has previously held positions in a number of government organisations and has extensive experience working within Aboriginal health, child care and justice.
Area of Expertise: Economic Development, Land and Sea
Mr Roy Ah-See is a Wiradjuri man born and bred on Nanima Reserve near Wellington. He is a member of the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council and is Chairperson of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.
Mr Ah-See has also held other roles at the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, NSW Aboriginal Housing Office and various government departments working in policy.
See recent NACCHO TV interview
Area of expertise: Culture, Community safety
Mr Marawili is Djirrikay or senior ceremonial leader for the Blue Mud Bay region of North East Arnhem Land and coordinated the sea rights claim in 2002 which eventuated in the High Court’s determination in the 2008 Blue Mud Bay Case. He is the leader of the Yolngu Madarppa clan and the Baniyala/ Yilpara homeland. Mr Marawili is Chairman of the Association of Northern Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists. Mr Marawili is a senior artist, painter and sculptor and received an Order of Australia (AM) in 2010 for services to arts administration.