NACCHO and ACCHO Members Deadly Good News Stories : #NSW @ahmrc #VIC @VACCHO #OchreDay #QLD @QAIHC_QLD @GidgeeHealing Goolburri #SA Nunkuwarrin Yunti #WA @TheAHCWA #NT @AMSANTaus #ACT @WinnungaACCHO #TAS

1.1 National : Watch NACCHO CEO appearance on the ABC TV the Drum for NAIDOC week

1.2 National : Federal Department of Health launches a new website

1.3 National : NACCHO support of Adam Goodes 2014-2019 ” Aboriginal Health and Racism “ #TheFinalQuarter

2.1 Armajun Aboriginal Health Service Armidale hold NAIDOC Week celebration

2.2 NSW : AHMRC The July Edition of Message Stick is out now!

2.3 NSW : Barrier between NSW Indigenous patients and hospital staff: report

3.1 VIC : VACCHO to co-host 2019 OCHRE DAY Men’s Health Conference in Melbourne 

4.1 Qld : QAIHC welcomes Minister Ken Wyatt to their new offices in Brisbane

4.2 QLD : Renee Blackman CEO of Gidgee Healing ACCHO Mt Isa on fact finding road trip 

4.3 QLD : Goolburri ACCHO : Jaydon Adams Foundation Indigenous Jets Ipswich Jets 2019

5.SA : Tackling Tobacco Team – Nunkuwarrin Yunti  the mob going smoke-free in Adelaide’s Prisons.

6.WA : AHCWA : Derby Aboriginal Health Service (DAHS) in Derby completed their final block of training in our Cert II Family Wellbeing Training Course

7.1 NT : Team AMSANT travelled to Sydney this week for national NACCHO workshop

7.2 : NT Katherine West Health Board traveling with our friend Healthy Harold to the schools talking about smoking 

8. ACT : Julie Tongs CEO Winnunga ACCHO Canberra congratulates Aunty Thelma Weston the 2019 National NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year

9. Tas: Tasmanian NAIDOC Aboriginal award winners 

How to submit in 2019 a NACCHO Affiliate  or Members Good News Story ?

Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media 

Mobile 0401 331 251 

Wednesday by 4.30 pm for publication Thursday /Friday

1.1 National : Watch NACCHO CEO appearance on the ABC TV the Drum for NAIDOC week

Watch ABC TV IView Friday 12 July Edition 

1.2 National : Federal Department of Health launches a new website

Welcome to the new website

We think you’ll find it a better website. We’ve:

  • changed the way it looks and works so it’s easier to use
  • reorganised our content so it’s easier to find
  • rewritten our content so it’s easier to understand
  • improved navigation and search
  • begun consolidating our other Health websites into this one, so more of our information is in one place

Department Press Release

The new website has been developed through comprehensive research and testing with our stakeholders. users told us they couldn’t find what they were looking for and when they did, it was often out of date and hard to read. Content was also often replicated and spread across more than 90 Health-owned websites.

The new website has better functionality and content has been written in plain English to improve the experience of all users.

An improved search function will search the new and old website during the transition period to ensure all relevant content is picked up. Better analytics will help us understand our users and continue to respond to their needs.

This project has been, and will continue to be, a major exercise. We expect it will take up to 12 months to completely rewrite our content.

In the meantime, Health topics that have not yet been fully revised will have a short introduction on the new site and links to old content for detail. Links to the old website will still work until we decommission our old website.

We won’t decommission the old site until we are satisfied the new website is complete.

Preview the new site

1.3 National : NACCHO support of Adam Goodes 2014-2019 ” Aboriginal Health and Racism “ #TheFinalQuarter

In 2015 NACCHO supported our good friend of NACCHO Adam Goodes with a ” Racism is a driver of Aboriginal ill health ” campaign that attracted a record 50,000  Likes and shares on our Facebook page reaching 846,848 followers


Watch to Final Quarter HERE

This followed our 2013 sponsorship of the first All-Indigenous team to represent Australia that Adam co captained with Buddy Franklin

Missed the Channel 10 Broadcast ? Watch HERE

2.1 Armajun Aboriginal Health Service Armidale hold NAIDOC Week celebration

More than 40 people attended the Armajun Aboriginal Health Service in Armidale on Thursday morning, but it had nothing to do with anything medical and everything to do with their NAIDOC Week morning tea.

Armajun program manager Deb Green said the day was fantastic.

“As the day gets on, we’ll get more community members who will just wander in,” she said.

“There will be an area left open so they can just come in and have a meal, and have a chat if other people are around.

“The whole week has been absolutely brilliant. We should be very, very proud of our community, and every service provider that has hosted an event over the last two weeks, it’s just been amazin

See Photo Album 

2.2 NSW : AHMRC The July Edition of Message Stick is out now!

Read about AH&MRC staff celebrating NAIDOC Week 2019, wrap-ups for Yarn Up, Your Health Your Future and the Dubbo Symposium and an update on the 2019 flu season.
Read about it here >>

2.3 NSW : Barrier between NSW Indigenous patients and hospital staff: report

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in NSW hospitals have reported being treated with less respect and dignity than non-Indigenous patients.

The Bureau of Health Information surveyed about 36,000 patients in hospitals and emergency rooms between 2017 and 2018.

The bureau’s chief executive, Diane Watson, said nearly all of the 1,000 First Nation patients were happy with their overall care, but some clear trends emerged.

Director for Aboriginal Health Geri Wilson-Matenga said new training programs would be designed to help medical staff with cultural communication and understanding.

3.1 VIC : VACCHO to co-host 2019 OCHRE DAY Men’s Health Conference in Melbourne 


The NACCHO Ochre Day Health Summit provides a national forum for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander male delegates, organisations and communities to learn from Aboriginal male health leaders, discuss their health concerns, exchange share ideas and examine ways of improving their own men’s health and that of their communities.

REGISTER and other information on this years Ochre Day Men’s Health Conference

Please visit the NACCHO website.

3.2 VIC : Aboriginal Victorians are twice as likely to be hospitalised for mental health issues, compared to the wider population

A history of marginalisation and cultural dispossession has contributed to lower emotional and social wellbeing among Aboriginal Victorians, the state’s mental health royal commission has heard.

Key points:

  • Aboriginal Victorians are twice as likely to be hospitalised for mental health issues, compared to the wider population
  • Almost half of the state’s Aboriginal population has a relative who was removed under the policies which lead to the Stolen Generations
  • One elder told the commission the western concept of mental health was neither familiar, nor helpful for Aboriginal people

Wemba Wemba elder Auntie Nellie Flagg ( Pictured above ) described the mental anguish that accompanied the relentless racism she experienced growing up in the north-west Victorian town of Swan Hill in the 1960s. See Full Report 

Helen Kennedy, from the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, said: “They’re losing their life to suicide at twice the rate.”

“We’re not seeing improvements.”

Ms Kennedy told the commission part of the problem was a lack of recognition of the profound trauma arising from a long history of marginalisation and the dispossession of land, culture and children.

Almost half of all Aboriginal Victorians have a relative who was removed under policies which lead to the Stolen Generations.

“These impacts have been brutal,” Ms Kennedy said.

“They have left a legacy of enduring trauma and loss that continues to affect Aboriginal communities, families and many individuals is in many compounding ways.”

Culturally appropriate services critical

Ms Kennedy told the inquiry that developing culturally appropriate services staffed by Aboriginal people was critical.

She said Victoria had only eight Aboriginal mental health workers statewide.

“We are lagging behind other states,” she said.

“We need a massive reinvestment to support a growing skilled Aboriginal workforce.”

Ms Kennedy said one approach proving successful elsewhere was the creation of trauma-informed community “healing centres” aimed at helping individuals build stronger connections to culture, community, family, spirituality, their mind and emotions.

“What we’re doing now is not working. We have to have a different approach,” she said.

“Looking after people’s social and emotional wellbeing and supporting protective factors … we know that works.”

See Full Report

4.1 Qld : QAIHC welcomes Minister Ken Wyatt to their new offices in Brisbane

QAIHC CEO Mr Neil Willmett  was pleased to welcome Ken Wyatt MP to their new office this week. They discussed a range of topics including the great work QAIHC Members were doing, the work QAIHC leads in the Sector, and the importance of strong partnerships with government and stakeholders.

4.2 QLD : Renee Blackman CEO of Gidgee Healing ACCHO Mt Isa on fact finding road trip 

Setting off yesterday to Burketown to meet with Council, Aboriginal Land Council and Consumers re health services. Robust discussions- great feedback – NWHHS, Gidgee Healing and WQPHN working with the community to improve health outcomes

Renee Blackman second from LEFT

4.3 QLD : Goolburri ACCHO : Jaydon Adams Foundation Indigenous Jets Ipswich Jets 2019

 Big thank you to photographer for these amazing pictures. see more HERE

5.SA : Tackling Tobacco Team – Nunkuwarrin Yunti  the mob going smoke-free in Adelaide’s Prisons.


There have been some inspiring stories and changes going on. #BeHealthyBeSmokefree #Rewriteyourstory

6.WA : AHCWA : Derby Aboriginal Health Service (DAHS) in Derby completed their final block of training in our Cert II Family Wellbeing Training Course

Last month, students from the Derby Aboriginal Health Service (DAHS) in Derby completed their final block of training in our Cert II Family Wellbeing Training Course, all graduating successfully with ease.  The course runs over a 4 day period and is part of the Family Wellbeing program at AHCWA that aims to support the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal people and their communities within WA. The aim of the program is to increase awareness of the contributing factors that impact on family wellbeing and identify strategies to help build better foundations to overcome these factors.

Congratulations to the students from DAHS!

For more information on the training please contact our Family & Wellbeing Program Coordinator, Ken Nicholls on (08) 9227 1631 or email ken.nicholls at

7.1 NT : Team AMSANT traveled to Sydney this week for national NACCHO workshop 

7.2 : NT Katherine West Health Board traveling with our friend Healthy Harold to the schools talking about smoking 

We have been traveling with our friend Healthy Harold to the schools in the Katherine West region. Healthy Harold has been yarning to the kids about their dreams when finishing school and how smoking could affect their dreams.

More Pics Here

What’s your Smoke Free Story?

8. ACT : Julie Tongs CEO Winnunga ACCHO Canberra congratulates Aunty Thelma Weston the 2019 National NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year

Thelma Weston, a descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait, is like no other. Her life is a story of survival, achievement, hope, love and celebration.

Despite only having a limited education, Aunty Thelma trained as a nurse and became a fully qualified health worker.
At age 83, Aunty Thelma still works full time at Winnunga Aboriginal Health and Community Services in Canberra, using her skills to manage the needle exchange program.

She has a long history of outstanding involvement and achievements in the community and has sat on a number of local and national committees and boards.
Aunty Thelma is on the board of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA) and regularly travels across Australia to attend board meetings.

As a breast cancer survivor, Aunty Thelma has worked with Breast Cancer Network Australia to encourage other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to connect, seek support and information about the disease.

Aunty Thelma is much loved, admired and well respected, not only in her workplace and amongst her clients, but in the wider ACT community and across Australia.  She is a wonderful example of a wise and caring Torres Strait Islander woman who has achieved much for her family and community.

9. Tas: Tasmanian NAIDOC Aboriginal award winners 

Congratulations Rob Braslin Aboriginal of the year. Congratulations Zack Riley-youth of the year; Adam Thompson-artist of the year; Taylah Pickett-scholar of the year (award accepted on her behalf by Raylene); Sherrin Egger-sportsperson of the year. Congratulations to all nominees and all award winners 🖤💛❤️

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Racism : Aboriginal Health promotion footage use by Sunrise Breakfast Show @sunriseon7 could be seen by some in the Yirrkala community as “damaged goods” says judge


“ The group alleges that by using the footage in conjunction with the discussion on child abuse, Sunrise implied they abused or neglected children.

They also claim Seven breached their confidence and privacy in using the footage, originally filmed for the promotion of Aboriginal health, for its unintended purpose; and that the network breached Australian consumer laws by acting unconscionably.

Yolngu woman Kathy Mununggurr and 14 others filed the lawsuit in February, claiming they had been defamed after blurred footage of them was broadcast in the background of the panel discussion.

Watch CEO Pat Turner , Olga Havnen CEO Danila Dilba and James Ward appear on #Sunrise to respond to Indigenous child protection issues #wehavethesolutions March 2018

Plus Read Extra Coverage HERE

Aboriginal children shown in footage that accompanied a breakfast television segment on child abuse in Indigenous communities could be seen by some in the community as “damaged goods”, a judge has said.

A group of Aboriginal people from a remote community in the Northern Territory is suing Channel Seven over the Sunrise “Hot Topics” panel discussion hosted by Samantha Armytage on March 13 last year.

Originally published HERE

The segment followed public commentary by then-Assistant Minister for Children David Gillespie on non-Indigenous families adopting at-risk Aboriginal children and featured commentator Prue MacSween, who said a “fabricated PC outlook” was preventing white Australians from adopting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“Don’t worry about the people that would cry and hand-wring and say this would be another Stolen Generation. Just like the first Stolen Generation where a lot of people were taken because it was for their wellbeing … we need to do it again, perhaps,” MacSween said during the discussion, which also featured Brisbane radio host Ben Davis.

The segment sparked an intense backlash, including protests outside the Sunrise studios at Sydney’s Martin Place and condemnation from the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

During a strike-out application brought by Seven on Wednesday, Seven’s barrister, Kieran Smark, SC, said there were issues with claiming those in the footage could be identified.

But Justice Steven Rares said Aboriginal communities in remote parts of Australia, particularly the Northern Territory, were “much more integrated than the suburbs of this country”.

“You’ve got a whole community up there, most of whom will be able to recognise each other, some of whom watch Sunrise,” Justice Rares said.

The group from the Yirrkala community allege the children in the footage were also defamed, but Mr Smark said a reasonable person would not shun and avoid a person they perceived to be a child victim of assault.

Mr Smark said ordinary people would react to victims of abuse with sympathy and it would be “counter-intuitive” to avoid them.

But Justice Rares said members of the community “might not be as sympathetic as you say”.

“The fact is imputations of abuse reflect on, as I understand it as a member of the community, whether you want to associate with people who are victims of abuse, because they are going to be disturbed by that abuse,” Justice Rares said.

“People are not going to associate with people they feel are damaged goods.”

Justice Rares said Aboriginal people had “by far” the highest rates of incarceration in Australia and many of those imprisoned came from traumatised backgrounds.

He dismissed Seven’s application to strike out the group’s pleadings.

Barrister Louise Goodchild, representing the group, said interpreters would need to be brought down for the trial and foreshadowed expert evidence in relation to cultural shame being heard.



NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Ice #ClosingTheGap : Some call it an epidemic, others call it the “Ice Age”. What ever you call it , it is destroying families, and Indigenous culture

“You need to trust us to be able to deliver a service to our own people linked in with culture. Who are the right people to deliver that? Our people.

I have seen it a thousand times over. Once they are addicted to ice, culture’s gone, you don’t care about your kids, your primary focus is ‘I need this drug.’ It is worse than heroin.

Ice has a terrible impact on the family. Yet there was nothing to explain to families “why all your stuff is being sold at the pawn shop” and how to get help “

Tanya Bloxsome, a Waddi Waddi woman of the Yuin, who is chief executive of a residential rehabilitation service for men, Oolong House

Read over 60 Aboriginal Health and Ice articles published by NACCHO

Originally published SMH Julie Power

It makes Nowra grandmother Janelle Burnes’ day when her grandson Lucas* says, “Nanny, you’ve got a beautiful smile. I love you.”

The Wiradjuri woman has been punched and kicked by eight-year-old Lucas, who hears voices and suffers psychosis.

Janelle Burnes had to give up work to care for her eight-year-old grandson. He suffers from a range of mental illnesses, including psychosis, attributed to his parents’ ice addictions.

Abandoned by his mother as a baby, Lucas has fetal alcohol and drug syndrome attributed to his parents’ ice use when he was conceived.

Experts told the NSW special commission of inquiry into ice in Nowra last week that they were increasingly seeing multiple generations of users living together, exposing children to violence, neglect, abuse and witnessing sex and drug use by intoxicated adults.

Some call it an epidemic, others call it the “Ice Age”.

When Lucas hit his grandmother over the head with a guitar, she didn’t yell at him. Determined to stop the boy from becoming part of another generation broken by ice, Ms Burnes ignored the blood running down her face and the waiting ambulance.

“I walked back to him, I hugged him, I cuddled him, I told him, ‘You are going to hurt Nanny if you do stuff like that.’ And I gave him a kiss and I told him I still loved him.”

Ice is a stronger and more addictive stimulant than speed, the powder form of methamphetamine, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation says. It causes aggression, psychosis, stroke, heart attacks and death. It causes confusion, making it nearly impossible to get a rational response from someone under the drug’s influence.

Tanya Bloxsome, chief executive of Oolong House, a residential rehabilitation service where more than 90 per cent of its male residents have been addicted to ice. CREDIT:LOUISE KENNERLEY

Ms Burnes doesn’t blame Lucas for his behaviour, but ice. It is destroying Indigenous and non-Indigenous families across the Shoalhaven region. It is also destroying Indigenous culture.

To recover, Indigenous leaders say they have to develop role models and restore pride in their identity.

“You need to trust us to be able to deliver a service to our own people linked in with culture. Who are the right people to deliver that? Our people,” said Tanya Bloxsome, a Waddi Waddi woman of the Yuin, who is chief executive of a residential rehabilitation service for men, Oolong House.

“I have seen it a thousand times over. Once they are addicted to ice, culture’s gone, you don’t care about your kids, your primary focus is ‘I need this drug.’ It is worse than heroin.

“Ice has a terrible impact on the family,” she said. Yet there was nothing to explain to families “why all your stuff is being sold at the pawn shop” and how to get help.

Nearly two-thirds of 52 Indigenous and non-Indigenous children placed in out-of-home care in the Nowra region in the past year were removed because of ice use by their parents. It was also a “risk factor” in about 40 per cent of the 124 families working with Family and Community Services’ case managers.

When Indigenous groups met the commission last week, they said they needed more culturally appropriate programs, rehabilitation places and detoxification units (the closest are in Sydney, Canberra and Dubbo).

Indigenous Australians are more than 2.2 times as likely to take meth/amphetamine than other Australians.

In the opening address to the commission, Sally Dowling, SC, said the impacts of colonisation and dispossession, intergenerational trauma and socio-economic disadvantage had continued to contribute to high levels of amphetamine use in Indigenous communities.

Ice use in Nowra is not as bad as out west. But the region has seen the biggest year-on-year growth in arrests for possession and use since 2014, with a 31 per cent increase compared with 6 per cent across the state.

Cheaper than Maccas

Getting high on ice was “cheaper than going for Maccas”, said Nowra’s Aboriginal Medical Corporation’s substance abuse counsellor Warren Field, who runs a weekly men’s group for recovering addicts.

Ice had also become a “rite of passage” for some young people after they had received their first Centrelink payment or wage.

Mr Field said “99 per cent” of ice users had suffered some form of trauma. Nearly all had other mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

“Everyone says there is nothing [like it] that will numb the pain and take the grief and loss away,” he said. It also makes women lose weight and gives men incredible sexual prowess.

“Most people are vulnerable when they go through a traumatic event and the Aboriginal community has had more than its fair share of that,” he said.

He argues they know what works – culturally appropriate rehabilitation which develops strong role models and a sense of identity. But there had to be more support when people came out of rehabilitation to stop them from relapsing.

The first year of rehabilitation was particularly hard. People in recovery were often depressed and their ability to feel happiness or pleasure without the drug was dulled.

Mr Field said “black fellas” were also unfairly targeted by police who, he argued, should spend more time closing the crack houses that “everyone” knew about.


At Oolong House, 21 men – 18 of whom were Indigenous – were getting themselves breakfast while 42-year-old Bobby McLeod jnr played guitar and a mate accompanied him on the didgeridoo.

More than 90 per cent of men in the program had been using ice, very often with other drugs, and increasingly with heroin, Ms Bloxsome said.

“Every addicted person who comes in here has a mental health issue,” she said. And residents addicted to ice were more psychotic than those addicted to other drugs.

Most residential programs are 12 weeks, but Oolong offers 16 weeks, and Ms Bloxsome believes even longer programs would be better. But like services up and down the South Coast, it can’t keep up with demand.

The program offered cognitive behavioural therapy, addressed mental and physical health, and encouraged the men to undertake training that would help them get work. Nearly all the men arrived with hepatitis C and those released from jail were, with few exceptions, addicted to the drug, bupe (buprenorphine).

The most powerful medicine, though, was getting back to culture by doing traditional dance, learning language and going on bush walks. After a lifetime in prison, Mr McLeod  said painting and writing songs about his life had helped his recovery.

When everything else was bad, ice had made him “feel invincible”. But it cost him his family and caused anxiety and depression, which made him feel suicidal.

His old man was a successful singer, his brother had travelled around the world with an Indigenous dance group, but he was the one who “went to jail”, Mr McLeod said.

Raising money for a funeral 

Ms Burnes lives in fear of a phone call telling her that Lucas’ 39-year-old mother is dead.

In anticipation of the inevitable – her nephew died earlier this year from a heart attack caused by his ice addiction – she is raising money for anticipated funeral costs.

Lucas’ mother has had three heart attacks caused by decades of addiction.

Janelle Byrnes is planning a funeral for her ice-addicted daughter. In a Facebook post, her 39-year-old daughter asks others to stop using ice. CREDIT:FACEBOOK

In a Facebook post, her daughter wrote about how her “huge addiction” had caused two heart attacks in two weeks.

“Now I’ve got to plan my funeral just in case I don’t make the next,” she wrote. “That’s not the saddest thing. It is listening to my mum cry and plan it with me. ”

“If U love your family reconsider having that pipe or putting that needle in your arm,” Ms Burnes’ daughter said.

In the meantime, Ms Burnes does everything she can to provide a stable home for Lucas.

She quit her job of 22 years as an Aboriginal education officer to care for her grandson, to ensure he gets to doctors’ appointments and maintain his schooling.

She’s been working with him to maintain his good results in reading and spelling, despite frequent suspensions for getting into fights, so he has a chance of fulfilling his dream of becoming a police officer.

* name changed

With additional reporting by Louise Kennerley.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @NACCHOChair Press Release and Media wrap #SorryDay #BridgeWalk @TheLongWalkOz @DeadlyChoices #Racism and @RecAustralia #ReconciliationWeek #NRW2019 a time to encourage national conversation on truth-telling and cultural understanding

 In this special NACCHO Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Edition

1.NACCHO Chair Press Release

2.National Sorry Day : School resources

3.Sorry Day Bridge Walk Canberra

4.National Reconciliation Week : Download the Guide

5. NRL and AFL  Indigenous Round will see moving ceremonies and grand sentiments — and then what?

6. The Long Walk : Racism #DreamtimeatheG

“National Sorry Day and Reconciliation week remind us that Australia’s colonial past has resulted in different outcomes for different people. Our shared story of Australia needs to be grounded in truth so that we can cultivate positive race relations and work to make our country stronger, together

As a nation we must continue to speak about our history as a way to understand and heal deep wounds suffered as a result of our colonial past which laid the groundwork for decades of harmful policies directed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We must continue to work together as a community, and indeed, as a country, to support the health and well-being of those from the Stolen Generations who are still recovering from loss of family, loss of culture and loss of life.

Truth-telling is a difficult yet courageous act. The journey of reconciliation takes time but every step forward creates a more solid foundation for our country to walk together, hand in hand, towards a hopeful future.

Acting Chair of NACCHO, Ms Donnella Mills.

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) encourages all Australians to take time to engage in conversations about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and reflect on the ways we can support reconciliation in Australia

Download Read in full NACCHO Chair Press Release

2.National Sorry Day : School resources

Sorry Day (26 May) is a time to remember the past policies of forced child removal, and reflect on the sad and painful stories of the Stolen Generations.

It is a time to recognise the resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the power of saying Sorry.

Did you know?

  •  The first Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998—exactly one year after the Bringing Them Home Report was presented to the Parliament.
  •  The Bringing Them Home Report was the result of an inquiry into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, and recommends both an apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and reparations.
  •  The term “Stolen Generations” refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who were forcibly removed as children from their families by government, welfare, or church authorities, and placed into institutional care or with non-Indigenous foster families.
  •  The forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children began as early as the mid-1800s and continued until the 1970s.

The Healing Foundation’s Stolen Generations Resource Kit for Teachers and Students has been created to educate young people about the Stolen Generations.

It makes it easy for school communities to start the conversation and inform classroom discussions using facts, real examples and stories.

Cultural consultation and guidance from Stolen Generations members has been an essential part of this project. The Healing Foundation has also worked closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous teachers, parents, early childhood specialists and curriculum writers.

This teaching resource has been developed to introduce students from Foundation to Year 9 to the firsthand experiences of Stolen Generations members. While the policies and suffering of the Stolen Generations is only one part of the ongoing story of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it is an essential one to learn and to teach so students have a full understanding of the history of Australia.

Cultural consultation and guidance from Stolen Generations members has been an essential part of creating this project.

We would like to acknowledge the Healing Foundation’s Stolen Generations Reference Group members who guided the development of this project.


3.Sorry Day Bridge Walk Canberra

Our NACCHO , Winnunga ACCHO and Reconciliation Australia staff joined thousand of marchers on 24 May : The walk each year is organised by Julie Tongs CEO Winnunga

4.National Reconciliation Week : Download the Guide

Our purpose is to inspire and enable all Australians to contribute to the reconciliation of the nation.

Our vision is for a just, equitable and reconciled Australia.

Reconciliation Australia was established in 2001 and is the lead body for reconciliation in the nation. We are an independent not-for-profit organisation that promotes and facilitates reconciliation by building relationships, respect and trust between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Our vision of national reconciliation is based on five critical dimensions: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity and historical acceptance. These five dimensions do not exist in isolation; they are inter-related and Australia can only achieve full reconciliation if we progress in all five Case Studies

 Download the 22 Page Reconciliation 2019 Guide


5. AFL, NRL Indigenous Round will see moving ceremonies and grand sentiments — and then what?

Over the weekend, both the AFL and NRL celebrated the vast contribution of Indigenous players who provide welcome visibility and wonderful role models for a people too easily overlooked and forgotten.

First published Here on ABC News

There was colourful jerseys,

moving ceremonies, the soothing drone of the didgeridoo and grand sentiments about how much the first Australians have given to the game.

The sights and sounds of 40,000 years of Indigenous culture was symbolised at football grounds across the country before vast audiences and then… what?

The answer lies in whether the AFL and NRL see Indigenous Round as an opportunity to go beyond the comfortable symbolism of inclusion and use the occasion to express support for more direct action and even controversial causes on behalf of their players.

Or whether they are merely appropriating Indigenous culture for yet another orgy of feel-good celebration that does more to advance the corporate interests of Australia’s most predominant football codes than those it purports to honour.

There are many who will argue that it is possible for Indigenous Rounds to be both a powerful celebration of Indigenous culture and politics-free; that unity rather than confrontation will help “bring more Australians along for the ride” on contentious issues such as granting treaty and a voice to Parliament.

The investment of the Indigenous players who design guernseys and choreograph celebrations demonstrate they have now appropriated their own round and are using it to drive their personal messages.

But having created such a powerful platform around Indigenous culture, surely we are also entitled to ask the AFL and NRL where they stand on the really big issues confronting Indigenous Australians.

Same-sex marriage is just one recent example of an issue on which both the AFL and NRL took sides on behalf of their playing groups.

Although, as the non-binding postal ballot proved, they were surfing a wave of public support, not entering the more turbulent political waters of Indigenous affairs.

For the AFL, this Indigenous Round has proven particularly problematic because of the imminent release of The Final Quarter — a reportedly confronting documentary about the treatment of Adam Goodes in the bitter finals seasons, marred by racist jeering.

Typically, AFL officials have been heavily briefed and are “on message” about the documentary. Mea culpas have been issued and we’ve-learned-from-this statements released even before next week’s media preview.

Indeed such are the depths of the AFL’s official contrition you could be forgiven for thinking the league executives, Collingwood president Eddie McGuire and other heavyweights, are delighted to have been cast in the most unflattering terms because it will help “show how much we’ve grown as a competition”.

Of course, the AFL’s craven failure to acknowledge and respond to the racist element of Goodes’s awful treatment, for fear of offending the sensibilities of the vilest element of its support base, is not absolved by the current frenzy of self-flagellation.

It merely presents a challenge: Do much better next time when confronted with similar circumstances or be condemned as opportunistic cause merchants who use the Indigenous brand to satisfy the clauses in government contracts and project good corporate citizenship.

The NRL’s more tactile message

As it is, even as the lights go out and 80,000 fans celebrate the “Dreamtime at the G”, there will be an uncomfortable sense that Indigenous Round merely highlights how out of touch the AFL remains with the real, dirt-under-the-fingernails problems confronting Indigenous Australians.

You might even argue that the symbolism of Indigenous Round is being used to absolve the league from confronting the hardcore issues in the communities from which many of its Indigenous players emerge.

The AFL’s relatively strong response to the racial vilification of Nicky Winmar and Michael Long is rightly celebrated on Indigenous Round, along with their bravery.

Yet it is only six years since then Adelaide Crows recruiting chief Matthew Rendell lost his job for clumsily stating clubs would not recruit an Indigenous player unless he had one white parent — a statement rightly condemned, but which also revealed the massive disconnection between clubs intoxicated by what they once called “Aboriginal magic” and the everyday realities of the players they seek to recruit.

If the AFL sells an ethereal message around Indigenous Round, there is something more tactile about the NRL version.

That stems from the more organic connection between the regions and the clubs from which Indigenous players have come, compared with the AFL where there remains a sense Indigenous stars are “imported” from another planet.

As a consequence, the NRL has seemed better placed to use the Indigenous message to create practical solutions, such as the initiative whereby Indigenous youths were given jerseys if they met certain health conditions. Note Deadly Choices 715 Health Checks

Great to have Indigenous players and legend stop in at our activation as we launch our partnership with Winnunga Nimmityjah AH&CS – at GIO Stadium

This direct connection with community is exemplified by Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell’s words in The Daily Telegraph about what he hopes to achieve in his Indigenous jersey this weekend.

“Because with Indigenous Australians there’s this stereotype that says we’re lazy, on the dole, get given houses,” Mitchell said.

“Well, I want kids to know I’ve never been on the dole in my life. Want them to know I finished school and just went out and got myself a house. It wasn’t given to me for free. I bought it.”

6. The Long Walk


Stand against racism 

VAHS ACCHO Thanks  to Essendon Football Club and The Long Walk for allowing our Deadly Choices Students to do a guard of honour at Dreamtime At The G.

All students enjoyed themselves. Also thanks to our schools for selecting the students on our behalf. #vahsdc


NACCHO #VoteACCHO Aboriginal #Mental Health and #SuicidePrevention : For #Election2019 #AusVotesHealth Prime Minister @ScottMorrisonMP and Indigenous Health Minister @KenWyattMP  Announce a  further $42m on mental health initiatives for young and some for Indigenous Australians

Young Indigenous people face many barriers to accessing healthcare including finding services that are safe and tailored to meet their needs.

This work will help change the way we deliver general mental health services so they draw on the value of culture, community and country to enrich the care provided to our First Nations people ”  

 Indigenous Health minister, Ken Wyatt. See extensive FACT SHEETS Part 2 below

“Our government will do  whatever it takes and whatever we can to break the curse of youth suicide in our country and ensure young people get the support they need”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Read over 130 Aboriginal Health and Suicide Prevention articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years  

Read over 200 Aboriginal Mental Health articles published by NACCHO over the past 7 years 

Visit our NACCHO #VoteACCHO Election Campaign page HERE 

#VoteACCHO Recommendation 4.

The incoming Federal Government must invest in ACCHOs, so we can address youth suicide

Provide $50 million over four years to ACCHOs to address the national crisis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicide in vulnerable communities.

  • Fund new Aboriginal support staff to provide immediate assistance to children and young people at risk of self-harm and improved case management.
  • Fund regionally based multi-disciplinary teams, comprising paediatricians, child psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses and Aboriginal health practitioners who are culturally safe and respectful, to ensure ready access to professional assistance.
  • Provide accredited training to ACCHOs to upskill in areas of mental health, childhood development, youth services, environment health, health and wellbeing screening and service delivery.

#VoteACCHO Recommendation 6.

The incoming Federal Government must allocate Indigenous specific health funding to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

● Transfer the funding for Indigenous specific programs from Primary Health Networks to ACCHOs.

● Primary Health Networks assign ACCHOs as preferred providers for other Australian Government funded services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples unless it can be shown that alternative arrangements can produce better outcomes in quality of care and access to services.

Part 1 : Coalition vows to ‘break the curse of youth suicide’ with mental health package

The Coalition has pledged a further $42m on mental health initiatives for young and Indigenous Australians, on top of $461m in the budget for mental health and suicide prevention.

Extracts from The Guardian

Of the new funding, $22.5m will be spent on research grants to help find better treatments for mental health problems and $19.6m on the Indigenous advancement strategy to prevent suicide, particularly in the Kimberley.

In the first three months of this year, there were at least 35 suicides among Indigenous people, three of whom were only 12 years old.

The findings of an inquest into 13 suicides among young Aboriginal people in the Kimberley, handed down in February, found that crushing intergenerational trauma and poverty, including from the harmful effect of colonisation and loss of culture, were to blame.

The Morrison government has made “securing essential services” central to its re-election pitch, using its projection of a surplus in 2019-20 and perceived strength of economic management to pre-empt Labor attacks that it is not spending enough on health and other social causes.

Labor is promising to not only build bigger budget surpluses but also outspend the Coalition in health, beginning with its $2.3bn cancer package that it announced in the budget reply.

The research component of the Coalition’s mental health package has been allocated to a series of grants, including about emergency department management of acute mental health crises and culturally appropriate mental healthcare for Indigenous Australians.

Past 2 #VoteACCHO

1. Indigenous Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

  • The rate of suicide among Australians, particularly young First Australians is one of the most heartbreaking challenges we face as a country.
  • We have provided $88.8 million for Indigenous-specific mental health services, as well as local, culturally-safe mental health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through our $1.45 billion investment in PHNs.
  • The Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt MP, has championed new measures to address Indigenous suicide prevention measures. Under the Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan the Morrison McCormack Government is providing $14.5 million to support Indigenous leadership to help our health care system provide culturally safe and appropriate care, as well as new funding to enable young Indigenous people to participate in place-based cultural programs; build a centre of excellence in childhood wellness; and adapt psychological treatments to meet the needs of Indigenous Australians.
  • The Morrison McCormack Government is also making a new $19.6 million investment through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy to prevent Indigenous youth suicide, particularly in the Kimberley. This new $19.6 million investment will help build resilience and leadership skills in at-risk communities and provide new pathways for engagement, including some which the Kimberley Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Forum told us are needed to support fellow young people.

2. Mental Health

  • The mental health of Australians is a priority for the Morrison McCormack Government.
  • One in five people in Australia experience a common mental disorder each year. Nearly half of the Australian population will experience mental illness at some point in their lives, but less than half will access treatment.
  • We are doing more than any other previous government to safeguard the mental wellbeing of Australians, providing record funding of $4.8 billion in 2018-19.
  • We are delivering more frontline services that meet the specific needs of local communities through a record $1.45 billion investment in our Primary Health Networks. We are providing long-term support for local psychologists, mental health nurses, and social workers, ensuring that the right services are available in the right place and at the right time.
  • We have expanded the headspace network, boosted headspace services, and established the Mental Health in Education Initiative with Beyond Blue to provide young Australians with additional help and support.
  • We have pioneered Medicare telehealth services allowing Australians in rural areas to access care from their homes. We have also expanded free or low-cost digital services, accessible through our new head to health portal to cater for those who prefer to access support online.
  • We have been the first to fully recognise the need for intensive support for Australians with eating disorders – the deadliest of all psychiatric illnesses – by creating specific Medicare funded services, a National Helpline, and providing $70.2 million for new residential treatment centres.
  • We have introduced key reforms such as a Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health, changes to private health insurance, and innovative models of care such as the $114.5 million trial of 8 mental health centres.
  • Investing in mental health and suicide prevention is not a choice, it is a must.
  • The Liberal and Nationals Government’s track record in delivering a strong economy ensures we can invest in essential services such as youth mental health and suicide prevention services.

3.Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

  • The tragedy of suicide touches far too many Australian families. Suicide is the leading cause of death of our young people – accounting for one-third of deaths of Australians aged 15-24.
  • The Government will provide $503.1 million for a Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan to prevent suicide and promote the mental wellbeing of young Australians. This represents the single largest investment in youth suicide prevention in the country’s history.
  • We are prioritising three key areas as our nation’s best protection against suicide – strengthening the headspace network, Indigenous suicide prevention and early childhood and parenting support.
  • We will ensure young people get help where and when needed by investing an additional $375 million to expand and improve the headspace network. headspace provides youth-friendly services for the challenges facing young Australians: across physical health, alcohol and other drug use, vocational support and mental health.
  • To strengthen Indigenous youth suicide prevention, we will invest $34.1 million including support for Indigenous leadership that will help our health care system deliver culturally appropriate, trauma-informed care as well as services that recognise the value of community, cultural artistic traditions and protective social factors. Out support includes $19.6 million for measures to prevent Indigenous youth suicide, particularly in the Kimberley.
  • To support parents and their children we will invest $11.8 million in a range of initiatives to help parents recognise when their children are struggling, improve mental health skills training in schools, enhance peer support networks and boost counselling support services for young people.
  • We are also providing an additional $22.5 million in specific youth and Indigenous health research projects as part of our $125 million ‘Million Minds Mission’.
  • The Liberal and Nationals Government established this ten-year $125 million Mission through the Medical Research Future Fund. It will unlock key research into the cause of mental health as well as better treatments and therapies.
  • For Australians living in rural and regional we are ensuring that services are available where they are most needed by establishing more than 20 new headspace sites in rural and regional Australia, and by providing new mental health telehealth services funded through Medicare.
  • .

Natural Disasters

  • We are also addressing the mental health needs of those affected by natural disasters through:
    • $5.5 million for additional mental health services in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. This includes Medicare items for GPs to provide telehealth services to flood affected communities in Queensland.
    • $21.9 million for the Empowering our Communitiesinitiative to support community-led mental health programmes in nine drought-affected Primary Health Network regions.


Mental Health Facts

  • One in five Australians aged 16 to 85 experiences a common mental illness (e.g. anxiety disorder, depression) in any year; nearly half (45 per cent) of all Australians will experience a mental health problem over the course of their lives. In 2016, one in seven children aged 4 to 17 years was assessed as having a mental health disorder in the previous 12 months.
  • Approximately 730,000 Australians experience severe mental health disorders. Another 4-6 per cent of the population (about 1.5 million people) are estimated to have a moderate disorder and a further 9-12 per cent (about 2.9 million people) a mild disorder.
  • Mental illness costs the Australian economy over $60 billion per year (around four per cent of Gross Domestic Product).

Suicide and Self-harm Facts

  • In 2017, 3,128 people died from intentional self-harm (12.6 deaths per 100,000 people), rising 9.1% from 2,866 in 2016. The 2017 rate is on par with 2015 as the highest recorded rate of suicide in the past 10 years. Most states saw an increase in their suicide rates, with Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory experiencing the largest rises. However, there were declines in Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria.
  • Suicide remained the leading cause of death among people aged between 15-44 years, and the second leading cause of death among those 45-54 years of age.
  • While intentional self-harm accounts for a relatively small proportion (1.9 per cent) of all deaths in Australia, it accounts for a higher proportion of deaths among younger people (36 per cent of deaths among people aged 15 to 24).



NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #SelfDetermination : Our CEO Pat Turner pays tribute to her Uncle Charlie Perkins at opening of new Canberra building named in his honour

“ Even though Uncle Charlie is gone and I have left the Public Service, I can tell you that his vision of self-determination is what I have sought to achieve every day of my life.

I know that fulfilling that vision is what will Close the Gap more than anything else.

It has driven me to lead a Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations to seek a partnership with the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments to jointly decide the next phase of Closing the Gap.

If he was here, I know Uncle Charlie would be standing with me in making sure that our peoples have to be at the table and make decisions about Closing the Gap and take responsibility for them alongside Governments.

This is a very powerful legacy of Uncle Charlie.”

NACCHO CEO Pat Turner speaking at the opening of Charles Perkins House In Canberra : See Full Speech Part 2 Below

Read yesterday Closing the Gap announcement by Prime Minister Morrison 

In 1966, Dr Charles Nelson Perkins AO was the first Aboriginal man to graduate from a university in Australia.

 Importantly Aboriginal people should be aware of this false economy which forms the basis of Aboriginal affairs in this country.

The economic lifeline is maintained only at the discretion of politicians and a fickle public.

We must therefore develop and consolidate a viable economy for our various communities and organisations that will sustain us into the future.

We must create short and long-term economic strategies now and thus create a more independent and secure base for ourselves and our children. The reality is that Aboriginal people under utilise, to put it kindly, their current economic and personnel resources. The potential for economic viability for our people is available now if only we could awake to the opportunity and not be blinded largely by employment survival economics ”

Unless the approaches to Aboriginal health are broadened to include greater attention to the health problems of adults, and are matched by broad ranging strategies aimed at redressing Aboriginal social and economic disadvantages, it is likely that overall mortality will remain high.

Dr Charles Perkins opening the Australia’s First National /International Indigenous and Economic Conference (NIBEC 1993) Alice Springs. 1993 International Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and Paul Keating was Prime Minister :

Read his full speech here Aboriginal people and a healthy economy

In a fitting tribute, the building where Indigenous affairs policy is developed was renamed Charles Perkins House last week, in honour of the celebrated anti-discrimination campaigner and former Department of Aboriginal Affairs secretary.

From The Madarin 

The late Dr Charles Perkins  became the first Indigenous Commonwealth secretary in 1984, after being appointed to the top job at the department where he started as a research officer in 1969. Before, during and after his career as a public servant, however, Perkins remained an activist first and foremost.

He was a major figure in the struggle for equal rights, arguing powerfully and publicly on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and leaving a towering legacy.

If Perkins had a choice between playing the role of the mild-mannered public servant to stay in the good books or speaking his mind, he chose the latter. He was famously suspended from his government job after publicly labelling the Western Australian government racist rednecks, and countless other anecdotes tell of a man whose life’s work was speaking truth to power, and never giving up on a fair go for the first Australians, above all else.

Staff of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Indigenous affairs group have long worked out of the south Canberra office block, described as “the home of Indigenous affairs” by PM&C, since prior to 2013 when they were brought together into a single structure within the central agency.

Charles Perkins House replaced the much blander “Centraplaza” at a ceremony last week, attended by relatives of Perkins and “other significant names in Indigenous Affairs” according to a brief report from the department.

A spokesperson said the new name would stand as “a reminder of his significant contribution to the Australian Public Service, Indigenous Affairs, and to Australia’s national identity”.

While it’s not a stand-alone department, the creation of the IA group marked a move back towards centralisaton from the arrangements it superseded. It has slightly more autonomy than most comparable groupings as it works under an associate secretary, the former vice-chief of the Australian Defence Force, Ray Griggs. This is one of only two such positions that currently exist in the Australian Public Service and has higher status than deputy secretaries.

Perkins’ niece Patricia Turner, a former APS deputy secretary herself and chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, did the honours with PM&C secretary Martin Parkinson and deputy secretary for Indigenous affairs, Ian Anderson.

“Dr Perkins was a proud Arrernte and Kalkadoon man and laid the foundation for the type of forward-thinking Indigenous Affairs policy we aspire to at PM&C,” Parkinson said in the statement.

Anderson said Perkins was “an inspiration to public servants and the Indigenous community alike” and noted he was one of the first Aboriginal people to receive a university degree, leader of the 1965 Australian Freedom Ride, and an influential advocate of the yes-vote in the 1967 referendum that essentially created the policy area where he would later become the chief administrator.

We’re told PM&C “worked closely with the owner of the building to secure its agreement” to rename the building and that no money changed hands with the owner, the evri group.

“The Department also engaged Dr Perkins’ family as well as key Indigenous stakeholders in the naming of the building and design of the tribute to Dr Perkins,” a spokesperson added.



I too want to thank Matilda for the warm welcome.  Of course I also want to pay my respects to the traditional owners and elders, past and present.

This is our national capital, which we are all proud of but it is also the traditional lands of Aboriginal people who lived here for many generations.  That they have survived and are here should also be a source of pride for all of us.

I should point out that Matilda and her family also lived in Pearce and became close personal lifetime friends with my aunty and uncle.

Can I also greet the Perkins family formally, and I am very proud that they are part of my family and that Charles Perkins was my uncle.

Uncle Charlie

My uncle Charlie was an extraordinary man.

He had many roles throughout his life and none more important than being a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a grandfather and a part of the Arrente and Kalkadoon First Nations.

His family and his wider extended family and cultural responsibilities were at the essence of his life.

It’s important I think to say that because often the focus is on his career in the public service and the influence that he has brought to bear on Australia over the course of the 20th century.

However, he was an Aboriginal man first and foremost.  That he was so successful at that is obvious – just take a look at his family and his children.  They have been such a success and I take this opportunity to pay tribute to them.


Uncle Charlie had other family of course and I am referring to those who lived at St Frances House in Adelaide.

Soccer was the springboard for his international travel and the experiences of living in another country.

Going overseas and, after returning to Australia, playing soccer with teams of different ethnic backgrounds, opened Uncle Charlie’s eyes to how he was viewed as an Aboriginal man among equals in this setting.

But we know, sadly, that if he was treated as an equal when he was playing soccer and recognised for being an Aboriginal man, the society in which he lived discriminated against him.


We also know, however, that this Aboriginal man decided to do something about it.  Uncle Charlie was strong and proud.  He had many strengths

-a strong work ethic and was very disciplined in fulfilling all his roles and responsibilities.

-Because he worked hard, he expected everyone else around him to do the same.

-I also remember personally his generosity and acts of kindness to me and others.

-At work, he focused on meeting and talking directly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples right around the country.

-He had the most extensive network of contacts that I have ever seen, from people living in the Central Australian desert through to the Prime Minister’s office and heads of corporate Australia.  He was never afraid to pick up the phone.

-Of course his leadership qualities were displayed in the Freedom Rides which others have referred to today.

Priorities for Uncle Charlie

Uncle Charlie was a successful kidney transplant recipient and it made him more driven to get a better deal for Aboriginal people throughout Australia.

In the 1960s as a University student he held a mirror up so that Australian people could see how racist they were and forced them to look at themselves.

Uncle Charlie forced our country to start taking a good hard look at itself.

Sure, many considered him controversial and a stirrer, but we loved him and applauded him for his leadership, his strength of character and his undying commitment to achieve a much better quality of life for First Nations peoples throughout this country and a full suite of our specific rights as First Nations peoples.

We know that his spirit guides us today, and that during his lifetime he taught us a great deal.

Today we all stand on his shoulder as a giant of a man whose legacy we must build upon and bring his vision into reality.


That vision more than anything else was self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

By self-determination, Uncle Charlie never meant that we should be able to decide if we are part of Australia or that our development ought to be separate.

I can assure you that Uncle Charlie was a proud Australian and also saw the benefits of mainstream economic development.

What Uncle Charlie meant by self-determination was that;

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had to be fully involved in decision making about the policies and programs of governments that affected them,
  • while we had to co-exist with non-Indigenous Australians, we had to have our own structures that allowed us the opportunity to make decisions about our priorities for development;
  • racism in all its forms against us had to be defeated; and
  • while we had to live and succeed in Australia we also had the right to have our culture and identity.

This vision became central to the outlook of a whole generation of public servants who worked in Indigenous Affairs including me.

Even though Uncle Charlie is gone and I have left the Public Service, I can tell you that his vision of self-determination is what I have sought to achieve every day of my life.

I know that fulfilling that vision is what will Close the Gap more than anything else.

It has driven me to lead a Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations to seek a partnership with the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments to jointly decide the next phase of Closing the Gap.

If he was here, I know Uncle Charlie would be standing with me in making sure that our peoples have to be at the table and make decisions about Closing the Gap and take responsibility for them alongside Governments.

This is a very powerful legacy of Uncle Charlie.

Burn Baby Burn!

Reflections on the life of my Uncle Charlie, however, should not end without some other significant moments which many seem to have forgotten.

He had a love/hate relationship with the media, and he certainly knew how and when to cause a storm.

In some cases, I can’t help but laugh even though they were very serious at the time.  Remember the threats of protests in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Uncle Charlie made a highly controversial declaration in April 2000 that Sydney would “Burn Baby Burn” during the event.

Who can forget the nationwide ruckus this caused.  Funny that we should be naming a building after the Aboriginal man who said it.

As I was walking up the steps just now, I was looking at the new sign “Charles Perkins House” and thinking to myself that I would like to spray paint in brackets “Burn Baby Burn”.

Other anecdotes

My uncle would read the press coverage every morning, and the executive soon learnt we also had to. At times I would walk into his office if I was concerned about a particular emerging issue covered in the press and indicate high level briefing may need to be prepared, and he had a very keen sense of when that was necessary and when it wasn’t. He would often say to us “Today’s news – tomorrow’s fish and chips wrapping”.

One morning we walked into his office in the executive meeting and he exclaimed the headline “Woman crawls 500m to escape croc attack”. “Geez”, he said “fancy that, crawling 500 miles!” I replied “Can’t be, must be 500 metres because she would be dead from exhaustion if she crawled 500 miles!”

Before the age of the mobile, my uncle was addicted to the phone and at home the phone and his personal phone book were forever on his side. He would flick through the phone book to decide who to ring today, and when someone answered he would say “Hello mate, Charlie here, just touching base”. Of course we all knew he was just keeping his finger on the pulse.

He always had a fire in his belly and held is back bone straight, a determination he instilled in us all. I am so proud he was my uncle.

In closing, I want to thank you personally Ian Anderson for all the effort you put into bringing this event to fruition.

It’s fantastic that Australia’s headquarters for Indigenous Affairs has been named after Uncle Charlie and well done to the Australian Government and thank you very much.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Racism and #CulturalSafety : Has the The Ways of Thinking and Ways of Doing #WoTWoD  program designed to improve cultural respect in general practice and improve health outcomes for Aboriginal patients failed

“Cultural respect reflects the attitudes and behaviour of the entire medical practice, from reception to consulting room.

In addition, general practice organisations must work in partnership with Indigenous community-controlled organisations to reduce health care disparities, address social determinants of poor health, and increase access to safe, effective and culturally respectful care. ” 

 Professor Siaw-Teng Liaw, professor of General Practice at the UNSW Sydney and and colleagues 

A YEAR-long program designed to improve cultural respect in general practice and improve health outcomes for Aboriginal patients, has failed to either increase the rate of Indigenous health checks or improve cross-cultural behaviours, according to the authors of research published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Download 6 page copy of research 

Cultural respect in general practice

Read full report online at MJA 

Cover : The painting created for the Ways of Thinking and Ways of Doing (WoTWoD) study by Ashley Firebrace, a Wurundjeri man from Melbourne.

With the majority of Australia’s Aboriginal population living in cities, suburban doctors’ clinics are part of the front-line effort to close the gap in health inequalities.

There are efforts to improve the way general practices treat Indigenous patients, but progress is slow.

A new study into a program designed to make GP clinics more culturally sensitive has found little improvement after 12 months.”

ABC Radio AM Interview with Janine Mohammed. interim chief executive, Lowitja Institute : Teng Liaw, professor of general practice, University of New South Wales and Dr Tim Senior, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health medical advisor, Royal Australian College of General Practice and GP, Tharawal Aboriginal Medical Service

Listen HERE 3 Minutes


Read over 50 Aboriginal Health and Cultural Safety articles here  

The Ways of Thinking and Ways of Doing (WoTWoD) program was developed by a team led by Professor Siaw-Teng Liaw, professor of General Practice at the UNSW Sydney and the Ingham Institute of Applied Medical Research.

It was designed to “translate the systemic, organisational, and clinical elements of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council Cultural Competency Framework into routine clinical practice”.

The WoTWoD program includes “a toolkit [comprising 10 scenarios that illustrate cross-cultural behaviour in clinical practice], one half-day workshop, cultural mentor support for the practice, and a local care partnership of participating Medicare Locals/PHNs and local ACCHSs for guiding the program and facilitating community engagement”.

In evaluating the program, Liaw and colleagues introduced WoTWoD to 28 intervention general practices and compared the results after 12 months with 25 control practices.

After 12 months “the rates of MBS item 715 claims (health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People) and recording of risk factors for the two groups were not statistically significantly different, nor were mean changes in cultural quotient scores, regardless of staff category and practice attribute”.

Liaw and colleagues wrote that the negative results may be attributable to “variability in the fidelity of the intervention, especially the local care partnership … the clinical and organisational reasons for low usage rate [of the MBS item 715] … and the length of the trial”.

“The length of the trial (12 months) may not have been sufficient to detect significant changes in professional practice dependent on organisational changes that require time to formulate and implement.

“Nevertheless, it is encouraging and promising that the data trends over the 12 months within each group were positive and participant perceptions of the WoTWoD were very positive.

“Further collaborative and participatory mixed methods research is required to examine the complexities of co-creating, implementing, and evaluating programs that integrate ‘thinking and doing’ cultural respect in the context of the changing needs and priorities of general practice and Indigenous communities,” Liaw and colleagues concluded.

The known: The gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non‐Indigenous Australians remains large. Urban Indigenous Australian‐controlled health services are under‐resourced, and mainstream primary care services are often not culturally sensitive.

The new: A practice‐based cultural respect program — including a workshop and toolkit of scenarios, with advice from a cultural mentor, and guided by a care partnership of Indigenous and general practice organisations — did not significantly influence Indigenous health check rates or cultural respect levels.

The implications: Cultural respect programs may require more than 12 months to increase Indigenous health check rates and the cultural quotient scores of general practice clinic staff.

Closing the health and care gaps between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians and non‐Indigenous Australians has been a longstanding challenge.,

In 2018, a decade after Australian governments committed themselves to Closing the Gap, mortality and life expectancy for Indigenous Australians had not markedly improved, and nearly 80% of the difference in mortality between adult Indigenous and non‐Indigenous Australians was attributable to chronic disease.

The Practice Incentives Program–Indigenous Health Incentive (PIP‐IHI), introduced in May 2010, assists general practitioners undertake chronic disease care planning for their Indigenous patients. Initial uptake was poor: only 64% of general practices expected to register (1275 of 2000) did so during 2010–11. However, the proportion had increased by May 2012.

The rebate for health assessments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (Medicare Benefits Schedule [MBS] item 715), constitutes an additional strategy for improving the access of Indigenous Australians to primary health care matched to their needs. GPs can engage suitably qualified practice nurses or Aboriginal Health Workers to assist with the assessment, including patient history‐taking, clinical examination and investigations, and with providing patients with education and resources for managing their own health.

The proportion of Indigenous Australians for whom payment for MBS item 715 was claimed increased from nearly 11% in 2010–11 to nearly 29% in 2016–17 (New South Wales, 26.8%; Victoria, 17.1%). However, the rate is still low and access to comprehensive care planning for Indigenous Australians is poor

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) are important providers of primary health care to Indigenous communities. However, most Indigenous Australians living in urban areas also use standard primary care and GP services.

In 2016, Indigenous Australians comprised 3% of the Australian population (744 956 people); 38% lived in New South Wales (229 951) or Victoria (53 663). About one‐third of Indigenous Australians live in major cities, but only 16 of 138 ACCHSs are in major cities; urban ACCHSs have lower staff/client ratios than regional and remote ACCHSs.

Indigenous Australians frequently encounter cultural disrespect in mainstream primary care services., The 2012–13 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey reported that 16% of Indigenous Australians had experienced racism in health settings; 20% of these respondents reported that doctors, nurses and other hospital or clinic staff were discriminatory, and 7% avoided seeking health care because of unfair treatment.

Of 755 adult Indigenous Victorians surveyed in 2011, 29% had experienced racism in health settings. Lack of cultural respect in health care restricts access to and reduces the quality of care for Indigenous Australians.

We have previously identified trust, access, flexibility, time, support, outreach, and working together as key aspects of cultural respect. Although the Indigenous Chronic Disease Package (2009–2014) supported increased cultural awareness training for health workers, it did not change attitudes or behaviour sufficiently to bridge the cultural gap between health professionals and Indigenous people.

We developed the Ways of Thinking and Ways of Doing (WoTWoD) cultural respect program with a trans‐theoretical approach, harmonising many similar conceptual frameworks and the terminology applied to Indigenous and cross‐cultural health in Australia. The theoretical underpinnings of WoTWoD were described in the article describing our pilot study. The WoTWoD framework translates the systemic, organisational, and clinical elements of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council Cultural Competency Framework into routine clinical practice. Cultural respect reflects the attitudes and behaviour of the entire medical practice, from reception to consulting room. In addition, general practice organisations must work in partnership with Indigenous community‐controlled organisations to reduce health care disparities, address social determinants of poor health, and increase access to safe, effective and culturally respectful care. This is fundamental to Indigenous Australians’ right to the highest standard of health.,

We undertook a cluster randomised controlled trial to examine whether the WoTWoD program improves clinically appropriate anticipatory care in general practice and the cultural respect of medical practice staff.


NACCHO Aboriginal Health #RefreshTheCTGRefresh News : Dr @mperkinsnsw #ClosingtheGap failures are firmly rooted in racism and Nicholas Biddle From @ANU_CAEPR 4 lessons from 11 years of #ClosingtheGap reports


1. Some targets are easier than others

2. The life-expectancy measure is unpredictable

3. On-track one year, off-track the next

4. Indigenous Australians in the city and country have different needs

5.Closing the Gap Failures are firmly rooted in racism

” Scott Morrison last week became the fifth prime minister to deliver a Closing the Gap report to parliament – the 11th since the strategy began in 2008. Closing the Gap has aimed to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with particular respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement and employment outcomes.

Almost every time a prime minister delivers the report, he or she states the need to move on from a deficits approach.

Which is exactly what Morrison did this time. But he also did something different. Four of the seven targets set in 2008 were due to expire in 2018.

So last year, the government developed the Closing the Gap Refresh – where targets would be updated in partnership with Indigenous people.

Nicholas Biddle ANU : Four lessons from 11 years of Closing the Gap reports : See in full Part 1 Below 

Read NACCHO Closing the Gap response and download the report

” Once again, minimal progress has been made towards closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

Racism has been mentioned as an issue, but exactly how does racism make a contribution to this “unforgivable” state of affairs ?.

The answer is in the criminal justice system. Studies have shown mass incarceration has a profoundly negative effect on the health, education, and employment of families and communities-and Indigenous Australians are the most incarcerated group on Earth.

The US, the mother of all jailers imprisoned 655 people per 100,000 in 2018. Australia imprisoned 164 non Indigenous people and 2481 Indigenous people per 100,000. Western Australian imprisoned 3663 Aboriginal people per 100,000.

In 1991, when the report on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was handed down, 14% of all prisoners were First Nations people.  By last year, the figure was 28%. ”

Lesson 5 Dr Meg Perkins is a registered psychologist, researcher and writer : See Part 2 Below

First Published in The Conversation 

The current report and the work leading up to it has led to new targets, such as a “significant and sustained progress to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care” and old targets framed differently.

For example, the headline new outcome for families, children and youth is that “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive in their early years”. This is on top of more specific targets such as having 95% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander four-years-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 – which this year is on track.

Read more: Closing the Gap is failing and needs a radical overhaul

Looking back on the past 11 years, there are several things we’ve learned. This includes those targets that seem easiest to meet, as well changes in the demographics of the population that complicate the measuring of the targets. Below are three lessons from the last decade of the policy.

1. Some targets are easier than others

The targets where there has been some success tend to be those where government has more direct control. Consider the Year 12 attainment compared to the employment targets. To increase the proportion of Indigenous Australians completing year 12, the Commonwealth government can change the income support system to create incentives to not leave school, while state and territory governments can adjust the school leaving age.

That is not to downplay the efforts of parents, teachers, community leaders, and the students themselves. But, there are some direct policy levers.

To improve employment outcomes, on the other hand, discrimination among employers needs to be reduced, human capital levels increased, jobs need to be in areas where Indigenous people live and to match the skills and experiences of the Indigenous population. These are solvable policy problems with the right settings and community engagement. But, they are substantially more complex.

Read more: Three reasons why the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians aren’t closing

2. The life-expectancy measure is unpredictable

The main target has always been related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy. The 2019 report shows the target of closing the gap by 2031 is not on track.

Unfortunately, the life expectancy target is one of the more difficult to measure, as it uses multiple datasets that are potentially affected by different ways Indigenous people are counted in the census and changing levels of identification. The most recent estimates, based on data for 2015-17, are that life expectancy at birth is 71.6 years for Indigenous males and 75.6 years for Indigenous females.

While the gaps with the non-Indigenous population of 8.6 years and 7.8 years respectively are smaller than they were in 2010-12 (the previous estimates) the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and most demographers suggest extreme caution around the interpretation of this change. The ABS writes:

While the estimates in this release show a small improvement in life expectancy estimates and a reduction in the gap between 2010-2012 and 2015-2017, this improvement should be interpreted with considerable caution as the population composition has changed during this period.

More people have been identifying as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander over recent years. What’s more, the newly identified Indigenous people tend to have better outcomes on average (across health, education, and labour market outcomes) than those who were identified previously. This biases our estimates, making it appear there is more rapid progress than there might otherwise be.

Read more: Three charts on: the changing status of Indigenous Australians

The Closing the Gap framework was implicitly designed around improving the circumstances of the 2008 Indigenous population relative to the 2008 non-Indigenous population. However, both populations have changed substantially over the intervening years. There has been a growth of the non-Indigenous population due to international migration. It is hard to measure and track differences in changing populations.

3. On-track one year, off-track the next

There is also the yearly reporting cycle. The target of child mortality, for instance, no longer appears to be on track. This is despite it being on track in previous years. Yearly fluctuations make it hard to gauge the effectiveness of long-term policy settings.

For other indicators, such as employment, the data is available far less frequently than it could be, and we are less able to judge the effect of individual policies and interventions. Having said that, in my view, the sophistication and nuance with which data in the Closing the Gap reports has been presented has improved considerably.

It seems most policies prioritise Indigenous Australians living in remote areas than those in the city. David Clode/Unsplash

4. Indigenous Australians in the city and country have different needs

This isn’t always reflected in policy settings. The current report shows many outcomes are worse in remote compared to non-remote Australia. It also makes the point (though less frequently), that the vast majority of Indigenous Australians live in regional areas and major cities. This creates a tension between relative and absolute need. Unfortunately, the policy responses of government often don’t get that balance right.

Take the signature policy proposal announced with the current report – a suspension or cancelling of HECS debt for teachers who work in remote schools. What the policy ignores is that the vast majority of Indigenous students live outside remote Australia, that outcomes for Indigenous students in non-remote areas are well behind those of non-Indigenous students, and that the schools Indigenous students attend in non-remote areas tend to be very different from those of non-Indigenous students.

Read more: Infographic: Are we making progress on Indigenous education?

Attracting and keeping more high quality teachers in remote areas is a worthwhile policy aim. Alone, it is not sufficient.

The current report and speech by the prime minister states that “genuine partnerships are required to drive sustainable, systemic change” and that the government needs “to support initiatives led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to address the priorities identified by those communities”.

These are admirable goals. But, they require significant resources, a genuine engagement with the evidence (even if it isn’t positive), taking the Uluru Statement from the Heart seriously, and real ceding of control to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

5.Closing the Gap Failures are firmly rooted in racism

Some people think Aboriginal people must be uniquely anti-social and/or make very bad choices, but research tells us the majority of people in prison are suffering from severe cognitive impairments and/or mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression.

Why are we punishing people with disabilities for behaviour that may not be intentional ?.

When we look at children in school, we find three times as many Aboriginal children are suspended from school than non-Aboriginal children. Some of the special purpose schools in NSW are filled with Aboriginal children only.

Many youth detention centres in the country have 100 per cent Aboriginal inmates. Why are so many Aboriginal children being suspended from school and set on the road to crime and punishment, and what happens to white Australian children who are not able to behave appropriately in the classroom ?.

It seems mainstream Australian children are referred to health professionals when they have difficulties at school. They are seen as suffering from learning disabilities, autism, or ADHD. Speech therapists and other allied health professionals work to help them catch up with peers and stay in school.

Due to intergenerational disadvantage, Indigenous people often don’t have the resources to find a therapist to assist their child. People born before 1972 were not guaranteed a place in school, and so grand parents may not have had much education.

Parents may have left school in Year 8 or 9 and are not familiar with developmental norms or disabilities. If they know that their child is falling behind at school, they often do not have the money to pay for expensive psychological assessments, which cannot be done in Medicare. Without an assessment, and a diagnosis , the school cannot make allowances for a child with brain-based disabilities.

The racist policies of the past have left many Aboriginal people disadvantaged when it comes to dealing with the education system. If their child is having difficulties, suspensions are often the consequence. Once suspended and out on the street, racism sets in again.

Aboriginal children are searched and arrested more often. We will never close the disadvantage gap until we can offer support to the children of young people. We need to raise the age criminal responsibility from 10 to 15 years, and spend money on supporting children, not punishing them.

Dr Meg Perkins


NACCHO Aboriginal Health @RecAustralia and #Racism : New Australian #ReconciliationBarometer Report shows some increased support but 33% of our mob have still experienced at least one form of verbal racial abuse in the last 6 months

Significantly, almost all Australians (95%) believe that ‘it is important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in matters that affect them’ and 80% believe it is important to ‘undertake formal truth telling processes’, with 86% believing it is important to learn about past issues.

But disturbingly the barometer found that 33% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced at least one form of verbal racial abuse in the last 6 months.”

Reconciliation CEO, Karen Mundine launching today The 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer, a national research study conducted every two years to measure and compare attitudes and perceptions towards reconciliation:

Download the full Report HERE

Reconcilation Aust 158 pages Barometer -full-report-2018

Download the brochure HERE


Download the 2018 Workplace RAP Barometer 

WorkPlace RAP Barometer -2018_-final-report

Read over 110 Aboriginal Health and Racism articles published by NACCHO in the last 7 years 

Australians’ support for reconciliation and for a greater Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander say in their own affairs continues to strengthen according to the latest national survey conducted by Reconciliation Australia.

The 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer, a national research study conducted every two years to measure and compare attitudes and perceptions towards reconciliation, has found that an overwhelming number of Australians (90%) believe in the central tenet of reconciliation – that the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is important.

The 2018 Barometer surveyed a national sample of 497 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and 1995 Australians in the general community across all states and territories.

Reconciliation CEO, Karen Mundine, said that this latest Barometer once again showed a steady strengthening of the indicators for reconciliation and improved relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

“Among these indicators is the encouraging fact that 90% of Australians believe in the central tenet of our reconciliation efforts, that the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is important, and that 79% agree that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are important to Australia’s national identity,” said Ms Mundine.

“Significantly, almost all Australians (95%) believe that ‘it is important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in matters that affect them’ and 80% believe it is important to ‘undertake formal truth telling processes’, with 86% believing it is important to learn about past issues.

“More Australians than ever before feel a sense of pride for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; this has risen to 62% from 50% in 2008 when the first barometer was conducted,” she said.

Conducted by Reconciliation Australia the Australian Reconciliation Barometer is the only survey undertaken in Australia which measures the progress of reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

Ms Mundine said she was heartened by the 2018 results which indicated that the work of Reconciliation Australia and other organisations which promoted reconciliation, the richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and the need to truthfully present Australia’s history, was having a positive impact.

“In welcoming these latest results, I must acknowledge the hard work undertaken by so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people to share the incredible beauty and complexity of our cultures across this continent.”

Ms Mundine said that while it was encouraging to see support for reconciliation grow again in the past two years, “there was still plenty of room for improvement”.

“Disturbingly the barometer found that 33% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced at least one form of verbal racial abuse in the last 6 months.”

Ms Mundine said that there were a number of actions that should be taken to further improve the situation for Australia’s First Nations and take the next steps towards a reconciled nation.

These include:

  • Developing a deeper reconciliation process through truth, justice and healing, including supporting a process of truth telling, the establishment of a national healing centre, formal hearings to capture stories and bear witness, reform to the school curriculum, and exploration of archives and other records to map massacre sites and understand the magnitude of the many past wrongs;
  • Support for addressing unresolved issues of national reconciliation including through legislation setting out the timeframe and process for advancing the issues proposed in the Uluru Statement from the Heart;
  • Supporting the national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples – and these efforts must be underpinned by the principles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly the right to self-determination;
  • Recommitting to the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Closing the Gap framework that involves renewing and increasing investments and national, state/territory and regional agreements to meet expanded Closing the Gap targets that are co-designed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • Investing in, and supporting, anti-racism campaigns and resources including maintaining strong legislative protections against racial discrimination and taking leadership to promote a zero-tolerance approach to racism and discrimination.

Read the Summary Report


NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Racism in the #Media Debate : @ShannanJDodson Why is it more offensive to call someone #racist than to say something racist?

 ” On Monday Studio 10 co-host Kerri-Anne Kennerley berated January 26 protesters.

She questioned whether any one of them had “been out to the outback where children, babies, five-year-olds are being raped, their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped. They get no education.”

Fellow panellist Yumi Stynes responded by calling her out as sounding racist, which was met with a shocked “I’m offended” from Kennerley.

This situation was a common example of how deeply offended people become when they are called out for racist behaviour, which is touted as much more offensive than actually being racist.

Indigenous people have had to listen to centuries of non-Indigenous people denigrating and demonising us – that we are a problem to be fixed. The minute that is called out, there is discomfort that the status-quo is not being maintained. It is an immediate and lazy defence mechanism to be offended by being called a racist, rather than unpacking why what you’ve said is perceived as racist and challenging your own stereotypes.

There is no denying that there are social issues that plague Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (there have been continuous protests to draw attention to this) and it is important to open people’s eyes to the everyday lived reality. But these issues are never explained in context.

They are usually delivered with broad-sweeping statements which are ill-informed by decades of deeply-embedded prejudiced reporting. Most often by non-Indigenous people with little to no knowledge of the issues and with no understanding of the historical racism underpinning it.

There is no explanation of the root of these issues, which is intergenerational trauma caused by colonisation, dispossession, the Stolen Generations, entrenched racism, discriminatory policies and poverty.

January 26 symbolises when these social issues began for our communities.

We cannot deal with the current violence, injustice and pain without looking at ourselves in the mirror and into our history.

What the media says matters. When Indigenous people are persistently portrayed as child abusers and other stereotypical labels, it feeds racist attitudes infiltrating the wider population (which have been conditioned by the media) “

Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman and National NAIDOC Committee member. She is Media Diversity Australia’s Indigenous Affairs advisor where she co-authored a handbook for better reporting on Indigenous peoples and issues. See this article in full Part 2 Below 

Follow Shannan @ShannanJDodson

The Australian have an article out at the moment headlined ‘Indigenous leaders back Kerri-Anne Kennerley in racism row’.

The article interviews three members of the Liberal Party for their views on it, suffice it to say that they were all pretty cool with KAK’s comments.

Apparently the Australian are the deciders on who gets to be an ‘Indigenous Leader’, so even though IndigenousX is a site that privileges Indigenous voices, we thought we’d take a different tack on this one.

We thought we’d ask some White leaders about their thoughts on the situation.”

Luke Pearson Founder #IndigenousX  : White leaders condemn Kerri-Anne Kennerley over racism row

The media should take time to reflect on their own views, biases and opinions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and use facts and editorial judgement to challenge, rather than reinforce stereotypes.

Negative reporting is commonplace for our communities.

recent study of more than 300 articles about Aboriginal health, published over a 12-month period showed that almost 75 percent of these articles were negative. ”

“On an individual level, exposure to racism is associated with psychological distress, depression, poor quality of life, and substance misuse, all of which contribute significantly to the overall ill-health experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Prolonged experience of stress can also have physical health effects, such as on the immune, endocrine and cardiovascular systems.”

Pat Anderson is chairwoman of the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (and a former chair of NACCHO) see her opinion article below

Read article above HERE

The media pick sides in the Kerri-Anne Kennerley racism debate

EMILY WATKINS  Crikey Media reporter

Example of #SackKAK Social media

It didn’t take long for lines to be drawn and sides to be chosen in the latest drama out of Ten’s morning panel show Studio 10.

Panellist and Logie Hall of Famer Kerri-Anne Kennerley suggested those marching to change the date of Australia Day didn’t care about social problems and crime in Indigenous communities. Guest panellist Yumi Stynes — the only non-white person on the panel — said Kennerley sounded racist.

Well! KAK was very offended (as people increasingly are when they are called “racist”).

Producers followed up yesterday by having two Indigenous guests with opposing opinions on the show — Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Price and former Victorian MP Lidia Thorpe. Meanwhile, the commentariat has fully embraced this latest battle in the culture wars.

In KAK’s corner

Most traditional and conservative media are supporting Kennerley. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph today has come out in full support of KAK — she’s on the front page, with Indigenous leader Warren Mundine saying it’s “stupid” to call her racist. Inside the paper, an opinion piece from Jacinta Price that supports Kennerley is given prominence over a counter-opinion from retired Indigenous figure skater and archaeologist Lowanna Gibson.


Its editorial says Stynes “played the racism card”, while on the opposite page the cartoon shows Stynes calling a barista racist for offering her a “short black” coffee.

The Teles broadsheet stablemate The Australian has also run an opinion piece from Jacinta Price, and quotes Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt as defending Kennerley. Andrew Bolt has used his Sky News program and his blog on the Herald Sun website to support Kennerley’s position.

Over at Sydney’s 2GB, Kennerley defended herself on Ben Fordham’s programbefore KIIS’ Kyle and Jackie O called Stynes and Kennerley to talk to about the spat.

Former Studio 10 executive producer Rob McKnight published a blog post on his industry website TV Blackbox on why he would never have let Stynes on the program:

The producers and executives at 10 might be patting themselves on the back over the amount of publicity this confrontation is generating, but not all publicity is good publicity. The headlines alone are causing one of their regular presenters serious brand damage … None of these paint KAK in a good light. In fact, they are very damaging, especially when they don’t represent the point she was trying to make. Essentially, she has been thrown under a bus by a co-host and that’s not cool.”

Daily Mail Australia, which loves any kind of morning TV drama, has been dining out on the brouhaha, rewriting and churning out its own versions of all the commentary and developments.

In Stynes’ corner

Another example of Social Media activism 

Unsurprisingly, online and youth-focussed outlets have leant towards Stynes’ view

Ten’s own news website Ten Daily is leading its website on Wednesday morning with an opinion piece from Yawuru woman Shannan Dodson asking why it’s more offensive to call someone racist than it is to say something racist. See Below

Junkee‘s coverage of the story relied more heavily on social media commentary than specific criticism of Kennerley’s comments, whilePedestrian took a swing at breakfast TV more generally and and flat-out called Kennerley’s comments “racist” without qualification (which other outlets were reluctant to do).

Meanwhile, Indigenous X founder Luke Pearson has published a piece satirising The Australian‘s coverage.

Part 2 Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman continued from opening 

Kennerley’s comments were a veiled concern for Indigenous people to mask her discomfort with Australians protesting against a day that solidifies and elevates her status as the dominant culture.

Her response to the backlash today was to reiterate her offense at being labelled racist rather than reflecting on her own position of privilege and why her approach and words were in fact what was offensive.

She says “if you look at ‘racist’ in the dictionary it’s thinking that another racial group is superior or another group is inferior.” The idea that people believe racism is confined to calling someone a racist term fails to acknowledge that racism is systemic and institutional.

It is not a coincidence that the most recent examples of media personalities being called out for being racist have been white women (although white men often make an appearance as well) — think Sonia Kruger, Samantha Armytage, Prue MacSween.

It is because they are comfortably sitting within the hegemonic culture; that experiences all the perks of it, commonly known as white privilege. Or as sociologist Dr Robin DiAngelo puts it “the defensiveness and discomfort that white people display when their racial worldviews are challenged.”

White privilege means turning on the television and seeing people of your race widely represented. It is having your worldview from a position of power and privilege reiterated and presented above all else, without being questioned or given from a different perspective.

Aboriginal people are rarely represented in these discussions (or often just as a knee-jerk reaction if we are). The media often talks about us, laying judgement, without including us in conversations about our own lives and experiences.

The fact is a non-Indigenous person is not going to have the same experience, perspective or reality as an Indigenous person. Not just because of the racism experienced by our communities, but because the system we are living in was methodically set up to exclude and discriminate against Indigenous people.

Our experience in this country is unique to any other. Almost every Indigenous family and community has been affected by the forcible removal of Indigenous children with the purpose of assimilating us and stripping us of our identity and culture.

My own family has been impacted by the Stolen Generations; two of my aunties were forcibly removed from my grandmother and grandfather.

They were not removed for ‘their wellbeing’, they were removed due to racist policies that also saw my Anglo Grandfather jailed for 18 months for loving my Aboriginal grandmother — because it was illegal to cohabit with an Aboriginal person.

That is recent history, my aunties are still alive and that is still having a ripple effect on not only my family but our community and other Indigenous communities across the country. It is a lived real experience, one that is not just a distant memory in history books.

Where is the nuanced discussion in mainstream media when it comes to discussing the social issues we face? Why aren’t we talking about the immense trauma we are still suffering that is projected out into painful acts because the hurt is too hard to bear?

Kerri-Anne Kennerley also goes on to say “Throwing words around can be dangerous and very, very hurtful”.

I ironically agree with the sentiment. Inaccurate or inflammatory reporting from a position of power has a detrimental impact on already oppressed communities.

The media have an influential and permeating impact on how audiences understand and make sense of the world. Whether deliberate or unconscious, those working in the media have the power to influence how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are perceived and understood.

The media should take time to reflect on their own views, biases and opinions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and use facts and editorial judgement to challenge, rather than reinforce stereotypes.

Negative reporting is commonplace for our communities.

recent study of more than 300 articles about Aboriginal health, published over a 12-month period showed that almost 75 percent of these articles were negative.

What the media says matters. When Indigenous people are persistently portrayed as child abusers and other stereotypical labels, it feeds racist attitudes infiltrating the wider population (which have been conditioned by the media) and continues to fuel prejudice, misconceptions and ignorance.

These stereotypes are internalised for our people, it creates shame and fuels pain and trauma which often isolates people from participating in mainstream society. This perpetuates the cycle of disadvantage.

We are consistently barraged with commentary about how damaged, destructive and broken we are and that we are not taking any responsibility for this. Why should we be the only ones to carry the weight of colonisation and the social impact it has had on our communities? It is our shared responsibility to dismantle the racist institutions that have systematically worked to oppress Indigenous people.

But frankly, I’m tired of carrying the weight and having to constantly justify my humanity and educate the 97 percent of Australians about why saying inflammatory, ill-informed and stereotypical things are racist.

We need more people like Yumi to step up and share the burden and call out racism in all shapes and forms.

Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman and National NAIDOC Committee member. She is Media Diversity Australia’s Indigenous Affairs advisor where she co-authored a handbook for better reporting on Indigenous peoples and issues. Follow Shannan @ShannanJDodson

Part 3  The truth behind Kerri-Anne Kennerley’s ‘racist’ claims on Studio 10

From Mamamia

Morning television has a reputation for being typically, well, sedate. But on Monday’s episode of Studio 10, the panel engaged in a debate that has left people fuming.

It centres around an exchange between daytime television stalwart Kerri-Anne Kennerley and presenter Yumi Stynes regarding protests that took place around the country on January 26, which called for the date of Australia Day to be changed and to highlight ongoing oppression and disadvantages experienced by First Nations people.

Kennerley’s take: “Has any single one of those 5000 people waving the flags, saying how inappropriate the day is, has any one of them been out to the outback where children, babies five-year-old’s are being raped, their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped, they get no education? What have you done?”

To Stynes, the comments sounded “racist”; an accusation that left Kennerley “seriously offended”.

“Just because I have an opinion doesn’t mean I’m racist,” she replied.

But Kennerley’s comments weren’t presented as an opinion – they were presented like fact. So, was she actually right? Let’s take a look

Of course, it should be noted that Kennerley was raising a question rather than making a direct accusation. But it was clearly a loaded one.

Author/filmmaker/actor Elizabeth Wymarra, who was among those to lead a protest against Kennerley outside Channel 10’s Sydney HQ this morning, argued that the premise of Kennerley’s question was not only presumptive and unfounded, but hypocritical.

Watch video 

“There was over 50,000 people that came out and marched in the Invasion Day march in Sydney, and a lot of those people were non-Indigenous people. They were non-Indigenous people who care about the oppression and discrimination of my people,” she stated in a Twitter video. “They’re in solidarity with us, unlike you, so it seems… Last time I checked, I don’t see you coming into my house, or my community, helping my people. So who are you to point fingers at people going to marches?

“You don’t know none of those 50,000 people that marched with us. You don’t know they don’t go to community.”

In remote Indigenous communities “…children, babies, five-year-old’s are being raped, their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped, they get no education

Breaking it down…

Sexual abuse.

Stynes’ criticism of this statement was that Kennerley was implying that “women aren’t being raped here in big cities, and children aren’t being raped here in big cities”. In other words, that sexual violence is a remote Indigenous issue rather than a national one.

That’s clearly not the case. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data indicates that one in five women around Australia have experienced sexual violence since age 15.

There is evidence that Indigenous Australians are more likely to experience sexual violence, though. According to the AIHW, in 2016 the rate of Indigenous sexual assault victims (ie. per 100,000 people) across NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia was between 2.3 and 3.4 times higher than that among non-Indigenous victims.

When it comes to sexual violence against children, the picture is similar. In 2016 the rate of Indigenous children, aged 0–14, recorded by police as victims of sexual assault in the above states was approximately twice that of non-Indigenous children.

Importantly though, data on the sexual assault of women and children in remote Indigenous communities specifically – or “the outback”, as Kennerley put it – is not comprehensive.


The claim that there’s “no education” in outback communities is quite obviously not true. According to Creative Spirits, there are reportedly 17,000 Indigenous children attending school in remote areas.

That being said, there are barriers to accessing education in particularly remote communities. including availability of teaching staff, transport, weather cutting off roads, etc., which impacts attendance rates and outcomes for Indigenous students. For example, while attendance rates among Indigenous students in inner regional areas stood at 86.8 per cent in the first half of 2017, it dropped to 64.6 per cent in very remote areas according to government data.

But overall, nationwide stats show that the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students attend school and are achieving national minimum standards for literacy and numeracy.

Indigenous university enrolment has also more than doubled over the past decade.


Kennerley responded to that the backlash this morning on Studio 10. While again taking issue with being labelled racist, this time she made an important distinction.

She used the word “some”.

“The statement that I made was about the tragic abuse of women and children in some Indigenous communities,” she said. “Now that is a fact, it’s backed up by a lot of people. It is not a judgement, it doesn’t mean.. thinking a group is superior, or someone is inferior.”