” Australian organisations seeking to be culturally safe and secure would have little confidence in Australian Governments’ policy documents to provide them with high-quality evidence for restructuring organisational governance.
I have assessed the various current Australian policies (listed below) around Aboriginal cultural safety and security.
Why would organisations follow guidelines that have no underlying evidence base, are not endorsed by Aboriginal community organisations, and have no assessment of their effectiveness for improving Aboriginal cultural safety and security?”
Dr Mark Lock is a researcher who studies committees professionally and he’s looking at ways Aboriginal people can make their voices heard. “In my research, covering 53 towns around Hunter New England Local Health District, currently I have 2,500 committees and about 3,500 people,” Mr Lock said. It’s a surprising statistic.
“Aboriginal people sit on many different committees and I want to know: Where is my voice? Where is Aboriginal voice? How do Aboriginal people influence decision-making processes through sitting on all these different types of committees? Contact
1) No endorsement from any peak Aboriginal organisation (except Victoria – Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency),
2) No detail about the developmental process, with statements such as “thanks to the many people who were involved in developing this framework”,
3) Limited evidence base for the long list of domains, strategies, and actions, 4) No key performance indicators for measurement, and
5) No evaluations to assess their effectiveness.
Those policies evaluated
- Cultural Respect Framework for ATSI Health 2016 – 2026 (AHMAC)
- Aboriginal Cultural Security Framework 2016-2026 (Northern Territory)
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Capability A Framework for Commonwealth Agencies (Australian Public Service Commission, 2015)
- Towards Culturally Appropriate and Inclusive Services 2014-2018 (Australian Capital Territory)
- A Framework for Working Effectively with Aboriginal People (Agency for Clinical Innovation, NSW Health, 2013)
- WA Health Aboriginal Cultural Learning Framework 2012-2016 (Western Australia)
- Respecting the Difference-An Aboriginal Cultural Training Framework for NSW Health (NSW Health, 2011)
- Queensland Health ATSI Cultural Capability Framework 2010-2033 (Queensland)
- Aboriginal Cultural Competence Framework (Victoria, 2008) and Matrix (2009)
- Aboriginal Cultural Respect Framework 2007-2012 (South Australia)
Download the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association FACT SHEET
The National Cultural Respect Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2016–2026 (the Framework) was recently launched by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council .
This ten year framework seeks to guide delivery of culturally safe, responsive, and quality health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. ”
Download the COAG Cultural Respect Framework here :
“I got a cheque for three dollars when I was a little boy. I don’t know who did that but I really value that three dollars. It came through good committee processes about giving financial independence to Aboriginal people.”
Mark Lock is a researcher who studies committees professionally and he’s looking at ways Aboriginal people can make their voices heard.
“In my research, covering 53 towns around Hunter New England Local Health District, currently I have 2,500 committees and about 3,500 people,” Mr Lock said.
It’s a surprising statistic.
“Aboriginal people sit on many different committees and I want to know: Where is my voice? Where is Aboriginal voice? How do Aboriginal people influence decision-making processes through sitting on all these different types of committees?
“They’re all connected because the chairperson of one committee will be a member of another committee, and the chairperson of that committee will be a member of another committee. It’s a network perspective like a spider’s web of committees.”
Mr Lock is keen to find out how policy makers make decisions.
“How do they say, ‘Oh, Aboriginal priorities, close the gap, number one. There’s an Aboriginal voice coming from Boggabri. I need to give that priority over anybody else’s voice.’ I don’t know how it happens and that’s what I’m investigating,” he said.
“There’s many more committees out there operating in our communities and that’s a fantastic thing, but with a population with high needs and so few people, how can their voice be better heard in all the noise? That’s what I want to try and get to.”
Mr Lock’s journey into this unique field of research started with a humble trophy from his grandmother that still sits in his office at the Hunter Medical Research Institute.
“My grandmother, Marjorie Woodrow, gave this to me in 1978 when I got straight As as a little boy in Narromine. I grew up in the same class as Glenn McGrath, that’s my brush with fame. We played cricket together,” Mr Lock said.
“To me, a little boy at the time, I felt so proud that Nan acknowledged this and said, ‘Go and get educated like white fellas and do good for our mob.’ I am 46-years-old now and that was when I was 12-years-old. It’s propelled me to this point always.”
Being a blackfella is not straightforward for Mr Lock.
“I’ve always been challenged about blackness and I’m always being challenged about, ‘Am I good enough to be a blackfella because I don’t look like blackfella? It’s constantly a battle to maintain identity, but I’m very strong about it now,” he said.
“My mob is the Ngiyaampaa mob out from Murrin Bridge, and on my website profile, you’ll see I don’t identify as Aboriginal because Aboriginal is a Latin term imposed upon us by Europeans.
“I’ve got all these mixed ancestries; convict, Latvian, Ngiyaampaa. But my history is very strongly of growing up around my Aboriginal family in country New South Wales and all the stories around that.”
Mr Lock lives in Newcastle but he has lived in many different places.
“I moved 28 times by the time I was 21. We went all over, in caravans, tents on river banks, wherever we could live,” he said.
“It started out with Nan who was always moving around with her children because she didn’t want them taken away by the welfare agencies, and it just transferred on to how we lived. I actually thought it was quite normal.
“When I met my wife Steph in Newcastle 26 years ago I thought she was a weirdo because she had only ever lived in the one place. No. It turns out that my story is not normal – 28 moves by the time I was 21!
“Moving is common in Aboriginal communities. People just move around. I think it’s related to that history of not having a solid root, of a solid foundation where you grew up, where you sang songs, where you sat by the fire, where you went fishing.”
Mr Lock travelled the country as a child and travelled the world as an adult, living in far-east Russia with his wife.
“I wanted to send a really clear message that I’m going to support my wife and I support women in this country. She’s an engineer. I was a stay-at-home dad looking after the kids,” he said.
“She has lived in Gabon, China, all over the place. She’s a fantastic engineer and we made a decision together that her career was the most important career.
“I said okay. Not only that; it’s not a token thing but it’s a serious issue for me, to promote that positive bias towards women, I changed my last name too.”
So Mark Lutschini took his wife’s surname and became Mark Lock
Mark Lock applies his independent thinking to his research.
He employs two full-time social media experts to publish findings as an ongoing part of his research process, rather than leaving it all to be published at the end of the process.
“My social media researchers have Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Pinterest because Aboriginal voice is expressed in different ways; images, video, writing in different forms,” Mr Lock said.
“We write many blogs. We tweet a lot. We also write journal articles. They capture as I gather the data for the study. I send it to them and then tweet about it to people who are interested in the study.”
Mr Lock would like to see committees take up social media to be more transparent.
“If you’re sitting down with a bunch of people around a table making decisions, why not write minutes, post them on a website so anyone in the community can access the minutes of the meeting?” he said.
And Mark’s personal experience on committees?
“I try to avoid committees. I was in the public service for 10 years and they were very debilitating. Dreadfully boring and often times you just want to go to sleep.”
Hosted by Jill Emberson, Mornings presenter on 1233 ABC Newcastle, Meet the Mob is a weekly profile of Aboriginal people in the Hunter region of New South Wales.
You can listen to each Meet the Mob interview by clicking on the audio player or you can download each interview as an mp3 by right clicking on the blue heading under the audio.