“Closing the Gap and the Voice are the two big issues, they’re separate but complimentary, and they can run in parallel. We want both. We want a real say over our lives. We have to be at the negotiating table.”
The Aboriginal heath sector is the biggest employer of Aboriginal people in Australia.
By investing in Aboriginal community controlled health organisations, they are investing in communities but they’re also employing Aboriginal people in real jobs.
They need to remove the punitive welfare measures immediately. they make absolutely no sense. It’s accountability gone mad. We’ve offered him a briefing, we’re looking forward to a positive working partnership, and for the ministry to be properly funded.”
It was well past time to get moving on the voice to parliament.
We are more than ready to finalise the model with our own people, and get out in the broader Australian community and have the conversations with them about why it’s important.
The PM said he wouldn’t be rushed on the matter of the voice, but the PM has to take a leadership role. When has he got the best chance of getting things done? In the first term. There’s no reason why we have to wait.”
CEO the National Coalition of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (NACCHO), Pat Turner said Wyatt had a big job ahead, facing “massive expectations” on all sides. Pat also co-chairs the joint council on Closing the Gap, a 10 year agreement between Australian governments and Aboriginal organisations to work together on solutions
Watch ABC TV News interview with Pat Turner
” When I saw Ken’s tweet about his appointment on Sunday, my heart grew big with pride. It was a welcome joy on a day that is always hard and sad – Sorry Day – the day we remember the pain and heartache of the stolen generations and all the histories and reverberations through families that came from this terrible period of pain, inflicted on First Australians by the government.
There is deep significance in Ken’s appointment being announced on Sorry Day, given his own family was directly affected by the then government’s actions.
Ken brings a depth of experience in Aboriginal education, health and policy, but of course the one thing he has that none of the previous office holders have ever had is that he is Indigenous. “
Dr Jessa Rogers is a Wiradjuri academic, consultant and board director based in Adelaide : see full article Part 2 Below
Praise, hope and high expectation have followed the appointment of Noongar man Ken Wyatt as minister for Indigenous Australians in the new Morrison government.
Wyatt is the first Aboriginal person to hold the federal ministry, and the first Aboriginal person to sit in cabinet.
In a statement Wyatt said he was “incredibly honoured to be the first Aboriginal minister for Indigenous Australians, committed to working and walking together with our elders, families and communities, to ensure the greatness of our many nations is reflected in the greatness of the Australian nation, now and forever”.
The appointment, made on national Sorry Day and at the start of Reconciliation Week, has been welcomed by Aboriginal organisations and advocates, hopeful of progress on constitutional reform, a voice to parliament, Closing the Gap targets and long-standing welfare, health and justice issues.
Wyatt arrived in Canberra on Monday from his home state of Western Australia amid speculation about how he might consult Indigenous organisations and communities.
Scott Morrison said a new “national Indigenous Australians agency” would be established, but details are yet to be announced.
Nor would the prime minister give a timeframe for a referendum on constitutional reform and a voice to parliament.
The federal government has set aside $7.3m for co-design, and while Morrison said the work would start immediately, he would not set a deadline for a result.
“I’m committed to getting an outcome on recognition, but we need to work together across the aisle and across our communities to get an outcome that all Australians can get behind and we’ll take as long as is needed to achieve that,” Morrison said.
“My priorities for Indigenous Australians are to ensure Indigenous kids are in school and getting an education, that young Indigenous Australians are not taking their own lives and that there are real jobs for Indigenous Australians so they can plan for their future with confidence like any other Australian.
“Recognition must be achieved alongside these practical goals and we will continue to work together.”
Newly minted Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the ALP was ready to advance the agenda of the Uluru statement in a bipartisan manner.
“Our nation is diminished by not recognising first Australians in our constitution. And while Indigenous Australians are the most disadvantaged in our nation, Labor stands ready to cooperate on how we advance the agenda of the Uluru statement,” Albanese said.
The Greens also said a voice should happen without delay. Senator Rachel Siewert said Wyatt’s appointment was a “positive step towards self-determination”.
The social justice commissioner and fellow Western Australian, June Oscar, said Wyatt’s appointment was “truly historic”.
“Ken Wyatt carries the hopes and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country, and we look forward to working together,” Oscar said.
The co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Rod Little, said Wyatt’s appointment “heightens our hope that things will be different”.
“We have hope every time there’s an election. We hope there are people who can work with us, who we can trust, who know how our communities are feeling, and we need somebody who is trustworthy and honest who is going to take on the challenges to make our lives better.”
Chief executive of the National Coalition of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (Naccho), Pat Turner said Wyatt had a big job ahead, facing “massive expectations” on all sides.
The first Indigenous member of the House of Representatives Ken Wyatt delivers his maiden speech to the House of Representatives in Canberra, 29 September 2010
Part 2 Ken Wyatt’s historic appointment could be truly transformational for Indigenous Australians : from Jessa Rogers
For the first time the final approval on policies and funding which affect our lives will be made by an Indigenous person
Ken Wyatt was announced the minister of Indigenous affairs on Sunday, which was also Sorry Day. Wyatt’s own family was part of the stolen generations. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Scott Morrison has made an historic appointment early in his new term as prime minister that has the potential to radically alter the way Indigenous policy is made in Canberra.
One hundred and eighteen years after the commonwealth of Australia was formed we finally have our first ever minister of Indigenous affairs (now appropriately called minister for Indigenous Australians) who is actually Indigenous. Ken Wyatt, who in 2010 was the first Aboriginal man to be elected to the House of Representatives, has made history again. And while I do not know him well, I know he is a decent man with a heart for the people.
Some may argue that this appointment is merely symbolic given any major policy direction is likely to require the approval of the cabinet, but the minister for Indigenous Australians will have significant influence over major government programs and resources.
Ken brings a depth of experience in Aboriginal education, health and policy, but of course the one thing he has that none of the previous office holders have ever had is that he is Indigenous. And we now no longer have a non-Indigenous person with no experience in our world, making and influencing important decisions on our behalf.
This is the first time senior officials in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (where Indigenous Affairs is currently based) will have to answer to an Indigenous person. This will be the first time the final approval on policies and hundreds of millions of dollars will be made by an Indigenous person.
Having spent over a decade working in schools and universities where the people who hold the power to make the key decisions that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff are almost always non-Indigenous, I am encouraged to think that this decision by Scott Morrison is more than just symbolic. It has the potential to be truly transformational.
The first Indigenous member of the House of Representatives, Ken Wyatt, delivers his maiden speech on 29 September 2010. On Sunday Wyatt was appointed the first ever minister of Indigenous affairs.
For many years now, I have had an image board of inspirational people, moments and quotes in my office. Ken Wyatt has been on that board, his image taken in September 2010, when he took his seat as member for Hasluck wearing a kangaroo skin.
That image made me proud then, as I know it did for many people. That symbol of leadership, presented by Elders, showed so much of what it means to be an Aboriginal person who also represents a wide and diverse group of Australians in his home electorate.
The picture I had of Ken delivering his first speech always reminded me of the important points he made that day, in particular his recollection of the apology. It brought tears to my eyes, and something burned inside me when he said that the standing orders at that point prevented an Indigenous response.
So during that speech, cloaked in kangaroo skin, Ken said: “On behalf of my mother, her siblings and all Indigenous Australians, I, as an Aboriginal voice in this chamber, say thank you for the apology delivered in the federal parliament.” That voice in the chamber was so important, just as his voice as minister for Indigenous Australians will be now.
‘I feel like Labor was the only hope for our mob’: Indigenous people cannot feel defeated
I have raised my children to believe that we as Aboriginal people cannot let negative opinions, low expectations or stereotypes hold us back from achieving our goals. We have the power to shape our futures, even though we still have a long road ahead of us
As Ken has said, the decisions we make determine our destiny, and the choices we make shape our future. We need to work hard towards a world where Indigenous people can determine our own destinies, but also take time to celebrate the wins, when we have them.
So, today I am celebrating Ken’s appointment as a step in the right direction for the newly elected government, and for us as Indigenous peoples in Australia.
I am hoping this appointment will bring about more than just symbolic change, because we need more than that to improve our lives as Indigenous Australians.