Jonathon Hunyor is Principle Legal Officer for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA). Amy McQuire spoke to him about the recent High Court decision which found the NT government’s controversial ‘paperless arrests’ laws were constitutionally valid. NAAJA still considers it a bad law, and Jonathon talks about the Territory-wide problem of alcohol, and the need to address it properly, rather than criminalising it.
Wally Stewart is a Yuin man living in Narooma, on the South Coast of NSW. He is also a strong advocate for Aboriginal cultural fishing. On the South Coast, home to a multi million dollar abalone industry, local Yuin mob are being given huge fines and even jail sentences simply for exercising the cultural rights of their ancestors. They are being locked up for practising culture, and this cycle is severely affecting the community.
In 2009, the NSW government legislated for Aboriginal cultural fishing, but six years on, it is still yet to be implemented. The Yuin mob are now looking into whether their claim for Native Title will safeguard their cultural rights to fishing, but there is also the problem of also using it for economic development, like previous generations have done.
If you would like to learn more, check out their Facebook page here.
Hayley McQuire is a Darumbal and South Sea Islander youth advocate for education. Just recently she coordinated and facilitated a youth forum on changing the conversation around education for our mob.
That resulted in a call for action Yimba(Listen) which aims to challenge the current talk around black education to be more inclusive of youth voices. Hayley is also on the United Nation’s Global Education First Initiative Youth Advisory Group (YAG), where she is the only Australian representative.
To sign the Yimba petition, click here.
Uncle Ken Canning is a well-known Murri poet and writer. During the 70s, he spent time in the old Bogga Road Jail in Brisbane and later when onto education. We spoke about what life was like in the prisons back in the 70s, whether anything has changed and how he and others campaigned for prisoners’ rights from the inside. We also spoke about what he thinks needs to happen to reduce rates of Aboriginal men, women and children in prison.
Uncle Ken also spoke about his views on Recognise and constitutional reform.
Kombu-merri photographer and anthropologist Michael Aird joined us to speak about commemorations for the Broadbeach Burial Ground on his traditional lands on the Gold Coast.
In the 1960s, soil contractors unearthed hundreds of Aboriginal remains, some of which dated back 1000 years. There was an archaeological excavation and the remains were placed in the University of Queensland’s anatomy department.
It wasn’t until 1988 that they were repatriated to the Gold Coast Aboriginal community, and reburied in a ceremony close to the original burial ground. Michael joined us to talk about the history of the repatriation. We were also joined by Aunty Lilla Watson, who worked at University of Queensland at the time, and was shocked to hear that medical students were tampering with the remains.
Tiga Bayles and Amy McQuire talk to Gomeroi woman Dr Jan Hammill about the effects of drinking in pregnancy. Dr Hammill coordinates the Collaboration for Alcohol Related Developmental Disorders. We spoke about how we have to change the attitudes around alcohol in mainstream culture, not just Aboriginal culture as a way to bring down Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
Dr Hammill has been working in the area since the 90s.
We also spoke about the impact of stress on early childhood development.
Paul Calcott is a Wiradjuri man, a co-coordinator for the Murri Disability Advisory Network in Queensland and is involved with the First Peoples Disability Network Australia. As a baby, he contracted polio which influenced where he is today – advocating for culturally appropriate and safe services for our mob with disability.
We spoke to Paul about the unique challenges and barriers affecting our mob with disability, the intersection with both child protection agencies and the criminal justice system, and the early roll out in Queensland of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The NDIS is being rolled out first in Palm Island, Townsville and Charters Towers. If you want to find out more about accessing services or about the network, contact Paul at 1800 673 074 or visit the following website.
Amy McQuire spoke to Yamitji and Noongar man Rod Little – the recently elected male co-chair of our only national Indigenous representative body – the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. Mr Little takes over from Les Malezer. The female co-chair is Jackie Huggins, following on from the resignation of Kirstie Parker. Mr Little has been living in Canberra and is heavily involved in community work there, but hails from Geraldton in WA.
We spoke about Mr Little’s background, and the past and future barriers affecting the Congress, including how it will build relevance amongst its members, and its attempts to ‘reset the relationship’ with the Turnbull government.
Host Tiga Bayles speaks to Cape York lawyer Noel Pearson about how Aboriginal affairs will fare under Malcolm Turnbull, and the meaning of self-determination and ‘responsibility’.
Tiga Bayles and Amy McQuire talk to Uncle Michael Welsh, a Wailwan man from Coonamble, NSW who at age 8 was stolen from his family and placed in Kinchela Boys Home, near Kempsey.
Uncle Michael talks about his experiences, the impact on his children and grandchildren, and how he embarked on the long road to healing.
For more on the Kinchela Boys Home, click here.
Amy McQuire spoke to Clare Land about her new book ‘Decolonizing Solidarity: Dilemmas and Directions for Supporters of Indigenous struggles.’
We spoke about how non-Indigenous supporters of the cause can take engage in critical self-reflection, decolonize, and actively support Aboriginal people and communities.
You can find out more at her website: decolonizingsolidarity.org
Amy McQuire speaks to Aboriginal health specialist Debra Hocking about how the University of Wollongong is rolling out Australia’s, and potentially the world’s, first Indigenous trauma recovery graduate programme.
Debra is a survivor of the Stolen Generations, and only reunited with her birth family when she turned 20. Her tale of removal and the violence she encountered in foster care left her with traumas that she passed through to her children – transgenerational trauma.
Debra talks about her life, her journey of healing, and how the programme will help others help their communities overcome devastating trauma. She says we can’t close the gap until we confront the complex compounded trauma within our communities.
If you would like to get involved, please ring Debra directly on +61 417 074 696 or email [email protected]
You can find out more about the programme by clicking here.
Dawn Casey is the previous chair of the Indigenous Land Corporation and Indigenous Business Australia. She finished her tenure just this month. During her time as chair, she continually called for an independent investigation into the $300 million purchase of Ayers Rock Resort under the previous board. There are still questions that have not been answered over the controversial deal, and around Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion’s refusal to support an independent inquiry.
Allan Clarke is Buzzfeed Australia’s Indigenous affairs reporter with a long history in Aboriginal media, from SBS Living Black to the ABC, to the fastest growing website in the world – Buzzfeed. He is a Muruwari man who grew up in the small town of Bourke, in western New South Wales.
Allan was this year nominated for both a Walkley award and Amnesty award for his work around the community of Ombulgurri in Western Australia. He joined us to discuss his life growing up in Bourke and how he sees the state of Aboriginal media.
You can check out his stories here.
Amy McQuire is in Cairns and talking with Torres Strait broadcaster Aunty Evelyn Lowah and journalist Arron Smith.
Tiga Bayles is joined by Tony McAvoy, the first Indigenous Australian to be appointed as senior council.
This morning on Let’s Talk we have three strong ladies from the Grandmothers Against Removals group in New South Wales – Gomeroi women Sue Ellen Tighe, Jennifer Swan and Debbie Swan.
They have been campaigning to halt the ever increasing rates of Aboriginal child removal in New South Wales – and it’s personal.
Both Sue Ellen and Jennifer have been trying to get their grandchildren back, while Debbie worked in the NSW child protection system for 13 years and knows the system both from the inside and outside.
Kate Beaumont is President of the National Welfare Rights Network, the peak community organisation in social security law, policy and administration.
We discussed the cashless debit card, or ‘Healthy Welfare Card’ which was rushed through federal Parliament this week. The card quarantines 80 percent of a person’s welfare payment onto a debit card, which they can’t use for alcohol, gambling or cash transactions.
It will be rolled out in the majority-Aboriginal population of Ceduna in South Australia. The NWRN has real concerns about the logistics and lack of information surrounding the card.
For more information on NWRN, click here.
Marc Newhouse is from Death in Custody Watch WA, and joined Amy McQuire on the programme to talk about the death in custody of Yamitji woman Julieka Dhu, who passed away in a South Hedland watchhouse after being jailed for $1000 in unpaid parking fines.
After a year of campaigning, Ms Dhu’s family have secured a coronial inquest, which kicks off on Friday October 23rd. Death in Custody Watch WA is running a crowd-funding campaign in order to have a presence at the inquest, to not only support the family but also bare witness to what happens.
The group is a non-for-profit and receives no government funding. It relies solely on the generosity on its supporters and members of the public.
To support Death in Custody Watch WA’s campaign, click here.
Gomeroi man Daryn McKenna helped found the Miramaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre, with the Street Warriors’ Abie Wright back in 2003. It’s based in Newcastle, and began as a way to revitalise and preserve the Awabakal language. In those 10 years, the centre has spearheaded the use of the Miramaa programme, which provides a tool for Indigenous communities across the nation, and the world, to help revitalise endangered languages.
The Miramaa centre also hosts the bi-annual Puliima National Indigenous Languages and Technology Forum, which begins this week in Melbourne.
For more info on the forum, click here.