Country, Culture, People, Future

October 2014

Wajarri Driving Program

Posted: October 31st, 2014

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Having a drivers license is a very important step in securing a job, particularly in country area’s where public transport is limited.

Wajarri Community members recognised the difficulty some young people were experiencing in obtaining a drivers license, particularly in regards to completing their log book hours. In conjunction with Sinosteel Midwest Corporation the community was able to set up the Wajarri Drive Program which provides Wajarri young people with the opportunity to log 50 hours with the Keen Brothers Driving School.

This year’s program has already received some great feedback from participants. If you are interested in being involved in 2015 you can register with Sinosteel Midwest’s Wajarri Liaison Officer Marianne Miller on 0457 020 152 or email mmiller@smcl.com.au

Deadline for Constitution Recognition Submissions Extended

Posted: October 29th, 2014

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The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples has extended its deadline on receiving public submissions. The closing date for public submissions is now 31 January 2015.

The Committee has been established to inquire into steps that can be taken to progress towards a successful referendum on the recognition of Indigenous peoples in the Australian constitution. Written submissions are prefered and can be made online at their website. Submissions can also be sent by email (jscatsi@aph.gov.au), or post:

Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

In July of this year the committee tabled an interim report in the Parliament, and it has since been holding public hearings around Australia. To access the report click here.

What is this all about?

There are a few aspects to this area: it is not just about adding positive recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the Australian constitution, but also about removing very outdated and negative things that are still in that document. Unfortunately, the famous 1967 referendum that allowed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be counted in the national census, did not fix other big problems in the Australian constitution.

Section 25 of the Australian constitution allows States to disqualify people from voting, on the basis of the race of those people. The majority of people now agree that this section is discriminatory and that it should be deleted.

The 1967 referendum changed the constitution to allow the Federal Parliament, rather than the States, to make laws relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. But today, most people agree that power sometimes has been misused to allow the making of laws that harm particular races, including Indigenous Australians, more than other Australians. There are a lot of different views about how this problem might be fixed though, and YMAC is open to hearing from you about it. If you have time to read the interim report mentioned above, don’t be shy about letting YMAC’s new policy officer, Cameron Poustie, know how you think we should respond: he’s at cpoustie@ymac.org.au or on 08 9268 7000.

Finally, there’s the question of whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be recognised with an introductory paragraph somewhere in the Australian constitution. There seems to be strong support in the Australian community for this type of change as well, but at the moment there are different views as to how it might be done. It should be remembered that a proposed ‘preamble’ was voted down in a national referendum in 1999, so the consultation process before the voting needs to be a lot better this time. Again, if you have an opinion, please get in touch with Cameron Poustie as above.

Indigenous Allied Health Australia – National Forum

Posted: October 23rd, 2014

Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), is holding a National Forum on 24-27 November 2014 in Canberra. The Forum welcomes all allied health graduates and students and the wider allied health workforce who operate within the Indigenous Health sector.

The forum will include a series of professional development workshops, the IAHA 2014 National Indigenous Allied Health Awards and Gala Dinner. The events present an opportunity to network, develop and share ideas to continuing improving the health and well being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

For more information click here to visit the IAHA website.

Recognition in Western Australia’s constitution too

Posted: October 21st, 2014

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Apart from the much better known conversation about recognition of Aboriginal peoples in the Federal constitution (see our previous blog post), YMAC is pleased to see that the State opposition has also recently begun to push for similar recognition in the Western Australian constitution as well.

And it has only just come to our attention that they are seeking comments on their suggested changes by this Friday, 24 October!

On Wednesday 11 June 2014, Labor member for the State seat of Kimberley, Josie Farrer MLA, first spoke in Parliament about the Constitution Amendment (Recognition of Aboriginal People) Bill 2014 she introduced. It was an amazing speech, click here.

Ms Farrer, a Gidja woman from east Kimberley, has introduced a Bill that is quite simple, because the WA constitution in many ways needs less fixing than the Federal one. There are important symbolic things that need to be changed. Find out more about the Bill and the reasons for the suggested changes Opposition Leader, Mark McGowan’s website, or call YMAC policy officer Cameron Poustie on 08 9268 7000.

WA really needs to get moving on this – every other mainland Australian state has changed its state constitution to recognises Aboriginal peoples. Please consider writing to Ms Farrer, even with just a short message of support, by email to her staff person at Ms Mala Croft at mala.croft@mp.wa.gov.au .

Australian constitutional recognition: a chance to have your say, and why it matters

Posted: October 21st, 2014

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Get your voice heard

The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples has been established to inquire into steps that can be taken to progress towards a successful referendum on the recognition of Indigenous peoples in the Australian constitution.

The committee is currently receiving public submissions, and they are due by THURSDAY 30 October 2014. The committee prefers that written submissions are made online at their website. Submissions can also be sent by email (jscatsi@aph.gov.au), or post:

Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

In July of this year the committee tabled an interim report in the Parliament, and it has since been holding public hearings around Australia. To access the report click here.

What is this all about?

There are a few aspects to this area: it is not just about adding positive recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the Australian constitution, but also about removing very outdated and negative things that are still in that document. Unfortunately, the famous 1967 referendum that allowed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be counted in the national census, did not fix other big problems in the Australian constitution.

Section 25 of the Australian constitution allows States to disqualify people from voting, on the basis of the race of those people. The majority of people now agree that this section is discriminatory and that it should be deleted.

The 1967 referendum changed the constitution to allow the Federal Parliament, rather than the States, to make laws relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. But today, most people agree that power sometimes has been misused to allow the making of laws that harm particular races, including Indigenous Australians, more than other Australians. There are a lot of different views about how this problem might be fixed though, and YMAC is open to hearing from you about it. If you have time to read the interim report mentioned above, don’t be shy about letting YMAC’s new policy officer, Cameron Poustie, know how you think we should respond: he’s at cpoustie@ymac.org.au or on 08 9268 7000.

Finally, there’s the question of whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be recognised with an introductory paragraph somewhere in the Australian constitution. There seems to be strong support in the Australian community for this type of change as well, but at the moment there are different views as to how it might be done. It should be remembered that a proposed ‘preamble’ was voted down in a national referendum in 1999, so the consultation process before the voting needs to be a lot better this time. Again, if you have an opinion, please get in touch with Cameron Poustie as above.

Rotary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tertiary Scholarships

Posted: October 17th, 2014

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Applications are now open for the Rotary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tertiary Scholarships.

The Scholarships are available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school leavers pursuing Tertiary education. The scholarships cover a range study areas at a number of institutions across Australia.

Scholarships are valued at up to $100,000 over four years to cover living costs while at university. Each Scholar will also have a Rotary Mentor and an Indigenous Mentor appointed to them for the duration of the Scholarship.

Click here for more information and application details.

Help to write Geraldton’s history

Posted: October 16th, 2014

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Aboriginal people of the Geraldton area are invited to a community meeting at the Bundiyarra ACAC, hosted by the City of Greater Geraldton on Friday 24 October 10am-1pm. 

The next title in the popular Mid West Heritage Series, published by the Geraldton Regional Library, will be about the Aboriginal History of the Geraldton area. A Reference Group will be put together so that this booklet can be written in partnership with the community.

For any queries, please contact Nola Gregory (Aboriginal Community Development Officer), nolag@cgg.wa.gov.au, 9956 6600 or Trudi Cornish (Heritage Services Coordinator), trudic@cgg.wa.gov.au, 9956 6659.

Charlie Perkins Scholarship Applications Open

Posted: October 13th, 2014

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Applications for the Charlie Perkins Scholarship are now open.

The scholarship is awarded to outstanding Indigenous Scholars to study at Oxford or Cambridge universities in the United Kingdom. The value the scholarship differs depending on the recpients course of study. It will cover full university and college fees, travel costs and an annual stipend to cover living expenses.

YMAC employees Jessica Hutchens and Tamara Murdock were among last year’s scholars, and are now commencing their first year of the scholarship. Tamara is pursuing a Master’s of Science in Biodiversity and Conservation Management, and Jessica will be pursuing Doctorate in Fine Arts.

Applications close Friday 28 November 2014. For more information on the Charlie Perkins Scholarship and how to apply click here.

World Mental Health Day call to close the gap

Posted: October 10th, 2014

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Today marks the World Mental Health Day, a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy.

Professor Pat Dudgeon, chair of NATSILMH, took the opportunity to call on the Government to take action on closing the gap which exists between Indigenous and other Australians in the area of mental health. Professor Dudgeon spoke about  Indigenous Australians suffering psychological distress, mental illness and suicide at twice the rates of other Australians with evidence suggesting that the gap may be getting wider.

Professor Dudgeon was NATSILMH member, Dr Tom Palmer AO who called on the Government to prioritise the development of a mental health action plan in Indigenous Affairs.

“On World Mental Health Day 2014, we call on Australian governments to adopt a bipartisan approach and make closing the mental health gap a further priority for Indigenous Affairs,” said Professor Dudgeon and Dr Calma.

For more information on NATSILMH visit their website and to find events around Mental Health Day click here.

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.