NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Stan Grant steps down as Q+A moderator

feature tile image of Stan Grant with hand to his heart; text 'The media "is the poison in the bloodstream of our society" - Stan Grant's last stand on ABC's Q+A'

The image in the feature tile is from an article Stan Grant: Q+A presenter cites ‘poison’ of the media as he steps away from ABC show published earlier today in The Guardian.

The NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health News is platform we use to showcase the important work being done in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health focusing on the work of NACCHO, NACCHO members and NACCHO affiliates.

We also share a curated selection of news stories that are of likely interest to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, broadly.

Stan Grant steps down as Q+A moderator

Last night at the end of the ABC Q&A program presenter Stand Grant explained why he was stepping away from his role as moderator:

“Sometimes, we need to just take time out. Sometimes, our souls are hurting and so it is for me. I’ve had to learn that endurance is not always strength. Sometimes, strength is knowing when to say stop.

“And to those who have sent messages of support, thank you so much. But I’ll be OK. Please, send that support and care to those of my people, and all people who feel abandoned and alone, who are wondering whether they have a place in this country and who don’t have my privileges.

“To those who have abused me and my family, I would just say – if your aim was to hurt me, well, you’ve succeeded, and I’m sorry.

“I’m sorry that I must have given you so much cause to hate me so much, to target me and my family, to make threats against me. I’m sorry. And that’s what yindyamarra means. It means that I am not just responsible for what I do, but for what you do. It’s not just a word. It is sacred. It is what it means to be Wiradjuri. It is the core of my being. It is respect. It is respect that comes from the Earth we are born into. From God. Baiame. If I break that, I lose who I am.

“I am down right now, I am but I will get back up. And you can come at me again, and I will meet you with the love of my people. My people can teach the world to love. As Martin Luther King Jr said of his struggle, ‘We will wear you down with our capacity to all love’.

“Don’t mistake our love for weakness it is our strength. We have never stopped loving and fighting for justice and truth – the hard truths – to speak in our land.

Yindyamarra Winanganha means to live with respect in a world worth living in. And we in the media must ask if we are truly honouring a world worth living in.

“Too often, we are the poison in the bloodstream of our society. I fear the media does not have the love or the language to speak to the gentle spirits of our land. I‘m not walking away for a while because of racism – we get that far too often.

“I’m not walking away because of social media hatred. I need a break from the media. I feel like I’m part of the problem. And I need to ask myself how, or if, we can do it better.

“To my people — I have always wanted to represent you with pride. I know I might disappoint you sometimes but, in my own little way, I’ve just wanted to make us seen. And I‘m sorry that I can’t do that for a little while. To my family – I love you. And to my mum and dad, Balladhu Wiradjuri Gibir Dyirrimadalinya Badhu Wiradjuri Mandang Guwu. Good night.

You can view Stan Grant’s speech on video by clicking this link.

Stan Grant speaking on Q+A Monday 22 May 2023

Stan Grant’s impassioned Q+A speech last night. Image source: The Guardian.

Bowel Cancer – Just Get Screened

Bowel cancer is a preventable cancer and if caught early it can be successfully treated in more than 90% of cases. We know that more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people participating in bowel cancer screening means that more cancers will be prevented or detected early, and more lives will be saved.

Next month is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month so in preparation, we are getting in early to remind people between the ages of 50–74 to complete a bowel cancer screening test. It is quick, easy to do and can be done in the comfort of your own home.


Birthing healthy, strong babies on Country

Professor Yvette Roe leads a collaborative partnership that is transforming maternity care to promote the best start in life for First Nations children. The partnership is translating the successful Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting study (IBUS) into rural, remote and very remote settings.

First Nations mothers are 3–5 times more likely to die in childbirth than other mothers. Their babies are almost 2 times more likely to die in their first year, often because they were born too soon (preterm). Changing this is a priority for closing the gap in First Nations health outcomes. Closing the Gap Target 2 is ‘Children are born healthy and strong’.

Yvette led the IBUS to help close the gap in Brisbane. The exemplar Birthing in Our Community service reduced First Nations preterm births from 14.3% to 8.9%. There were other improvements:

  • more First Nations women were seen in early pregnancy
  • women needed less intervention during birthing
  • more mothers were breastfeeding
  • fewer babies were admitted to neonatal units.

‘We saw all these amazing clinical outcomes that we have not seen before in Australia,’ Yvette says. ‘The Birthing in Our Community service also saw a cost saving of $4810 for every mother-baby pair to the health system, compared to standard care.’

To view the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care article Birthing healthy and strong babies on Country in full click here.

tile: image of Professor Yvette Roe & text ' Medical Research Future Fund - Professor Yvette Roe, Co-Director, Molly Wardaguga, Research Centre, Charles Darwin University

Image source: Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart

The Board of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT) has reconfirmed its strong support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and its recommendations regarding the establishment of a constitutionally enshrined ‘Voice to Parliament’ alongside a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making and truth-telling.

At its meeting in Katherine on 12 May, the AMSANT Board considered current circumstances impacting on the recognition and achievement of the Statement’s objectives. “Our Board Directors are strongly of the view that the Uluru Statement from the Heart provides the nation a precious opportunity to begin to resolve our unfinished business and to achieve fundamental change for our people”, said AMSANT Acting Chair, Rob McPhee. “The vision and goodwill that has been offered to the nation through the Statement requires and deserves our trust.”

The AMSANT Board emphasised its strong endorsement of the First Nations-led process that culminated in the National Constitutional Convention at Uluru in May 2017, bringing together First Nations delegates from across Australia to meet and to form a consensus position on the form that constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should take.

To view AMSANT’s media release Supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full click here.

Uluru Statement from the Heart document

Photo: Richard Milnes, Alamy. Image source: The Guardian.

Mental health crises linked to deaths in police ops

Almost half the people involved in critical incidents with NSW police over the past five years were experiencing a mental health crisis, while the number of Indigenous people killed and seriously injured doubled last financial year, according to a new report.

The NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission’s (LECC’s) 5-yearly report into “critical incidents” included seven recommendations including an urgent call for better mental health training for officers. A critical incident is a police operation that results in a death or serious injury. The commission looked at incidents from mid–2017 to mid–2022, of which 12% involved First Nations people. Thirteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people died, while six were seriously injured. Between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022, six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people died, while two were seriously injured. That represented at least double the numbers for each of the four years prior.

The report also warns of significant delays to internal investigations of critical incidents. The delays are caused by police practice to wait for the conclusion of criminal or coronial court proceedings before commencing critical incident investigations. “This process can take years,” the report said. “The chance to swiftly improve policies and practices is being missed.”

To view The Guardian article Mental health crises linked to almost half of all deaths or serious injuries in NSW police operations in full click here. You can also read a related ABC News story Man shot dead by police after reports of stabbing in Brisbane suburb of Grange here.

shoulders of NSW police showing NSW Police badge

The NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission five-yearly report into critical incident investigations shows 12% involved First Nations people. Photo: Dean Lewins, AAP. Image source: The Guardian.

Sector Jobs

Sector Jobs – you can see sector job listings on the NACCHO website here.

Advertising Jobs – to advertise a job vacancy click here to go to the NACCHO website Current job listings webpage. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a Post A Job form. You can complete this form with your job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

Key Day – National Palliative Care Week 2023

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) says National Palliative Care Week, running from 21−27 May, is a good time to have important conversations about death and dying with loved ones.  The AMA welcomes this year’s National Palliative Care Week with the theme: ‘Matters of Life and Death’ and its special focus on the palliative care workforce and volunteers who support patients and families living with a life-limiting illness.

AMA President Professor Steve Robson said  “Death, dying, and bereavement are all unavoidable and integral parts of life, but we struggle with them. Even for health care professionals, reflecting on and discussing death with patients and their families can be profoundly confronting and difficult. We need to be able to have open and frank discussions and be educated about death and dying, so we can normalise and encourage discussion on these topics, both in the medical profession and in the wider community.

“There is a lot to understand about the role and purpose of palliative care, advance care plans, non-beneficial treatment, caring and bereavement. We could all be better prepared if we took the time to look into these issues and what it means for families. National Palliative Care Week is the perfect time to do this.”

The National Palliative Care Week website, available here, profiles a range of health professionals and volunteers highlighting their experience and life lessons in supporting patients and their families with life-limiting illnesses.

The AMA’s Position Statement on End-of-Life Care and Advance Care Planning 2014, available here, lays out what good quality end-of-life care should look like.

You can view the AMA’s media release Matters of life and death should be discussed and normalised in full here and a video on Advance Care Plans especially for mob below.

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