RAWA ANTHOLOGY – INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2018 – PODCAST SERIES

We enjoyed bringing you our first anthology so much that we are doing it again for International Women’s Day 2018 – this time in podcasts. This year, we have partnered with Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation at the University of NSW chetre.org to bring a focus on women’s wellbeing.

We ask some pretty special Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and one ally for their thoughts around this year’s theme #PressForProgress http://internationalwomensday.com


Thanks for listening


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PAM GREER

Pam Greer is Educational Consultant and Lead for Weaving the Net and Strong Aboriginal Women community programs with the Education Centre Against Violence but that does not begin to describe Pam’s incredible lifetime of work. Pam has over 30 years’ experience delivering services and training to health and education workers and community members, and is one of the most highly regarded voices on domestic violence and abuse against Aboriginal women and children. Pam was inducted into the NSW Aboriginal Health Hall of Fame in 2008, the highest accolade awarded by the sector, in recognition of her lifetime commitment to violence prevention and response. Pam is integral to ECAV’s Weaving the Net and Strong Aboriginal Women programs and is a member of Aboriginal Communities Matter Advisory Group (ACMAG).

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RAWA ANTHOLOGY – INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2018 – PODCAST SERIES

We enjoyed bringing you our first anthology so much that we are doing it again for International Women’s Day 2018 – this time in podcasts. This year, we have partnered with Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation at the University of NSW chetre.org to bring a focus on women’s wellbeing.

We ask some pretty special Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and one ally for their thoughts around this year’s theme #PressForProgress http://internationalwomensday.com


Marilyn Wise - head shot

MARILYN WISE

Associate Professor Marilyn Wise has 25 years’ experience in the field of health promotion as a practitioner, service director and researcher. Her main fields of current interest are influencing public policy to create conditions for equity and population health, Health Impact Assessment, and contributing to strengthening the capacity of Aboriginal communities to promote health.

Marilyn has been a member of the editorial boards of the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, Health Promotion Journal of Australia, Promotion and Education, and Drug and Alcohol Review, and has written more than 50 articles, editorials, book chapters and government reports.

She has served as Regional Vice President and Global Vice President (advocacy) of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education. She has also been a Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Marilyn is conducting research to find ways to increase the power of minority populations to set public policy agendas, to frame problems and solutions, and to influence public policy.

marilynwiseIWD2018

RAWA ANTHOLOGY – INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2018 – PODCAST SERIES

We enjoyed bringing you our first anthology so much that we are doing it again for International Women’s Day 2018 – this time in podcasts. This year, we have partnered with Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation at the University of NSW chetre.org to bring a focus on women’s wellbeing.

We ask some pretty special Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and one ally for their thoughts around this year’s theme: #PressForProgresshttp://internationalwomensday.com


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LYNDA-JUNE COE

Lynda-June Coe is a Wiradjuri and Torres Strait Islander woman from Erambie, Cowra NSW. Proudly hailing from one of the most politically active family groups in the country, Lynda-June was educated from an early age by leaders of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. She has been involved with the grassroots movement since the NTER (Northern Territory Emergency Response) – known as ‘The Intervention’ – in 2007 and stands for affirmative action for young people to speak out against ongoing colonial systems of apartheid and systemic genocide. Lynda-June brings her own learnings and as an educator to the young black movement known as FISTT (Fighting in Solidarity Towards Treaty) which has led and supported national campaigns in Sydney and NSW.

In 2014, Lynda-June moved home to Wiradjuri country to teach young people the importance of identity, culture and connection to country. She has since relocated to Newcastle where she currently resides to finish a higher research degree.

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RAWA ANTHOLOGY – INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2018 – PODCAST SERIES

 

We enjoyed bringing you our first anthology so much that we are doing it again for International Women’s Day 2018 – this time in podcasts. This year, we have partnered with Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation at the University of NSW chetre.org to bring a focus on women’s wellbeing.

We ask some pretty special Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and one ally for their thoughts around this year’s theme: #PressForProgress http://internationalwomensday.com


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Kyra Kum Sing

Kyra Kum-Sing is a Malera Bandjalan and Mitakoodi Woman. Her current role is Emerging Curator with Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative based in Leichhardt. Kyra is the curator and one of the artists in Boomalli’s current Mardi Gras Exhibition – ‘Luscious All Sorts: Love Won’, which showcases Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQI Artists from across our communities. Kyra believes we must support younger generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as it’s important to continue traditional practices so the next generation will know who they are and knowing where they are from, through maintaining connections to traditional lands, culture, family bloodlines, spirituality and laws, as Aboriginal peoples in Australia.

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RAWA ANTHOLOGY – INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2017

Aboriginal Woman by Mixed Relations featuring Bart Willoughby, Alice Haines, Sharon Carpenter, Neil Murray and Brenda Gifford.

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Our final post today brings us to the end of the RAWA online anthology. We have enjoyed bringing these thoughts and hope that the writings have challenged or inspired you.

Thank you for sharing IWD2017 with  Redfern Aboriginal Women’s Alliance.

We invite you to keep visiting our page.

RAWA ANTHOLOGY – INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2017

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Dr Hannah McGlade is the Senior Indigenous Research Fellow at Curtin University. Hannah is a Noongar human rights lawyer, researcher and social justice activist, and chairs Aboriginal Family Law Services. She is the author of ‘Our Greatest challenge, Aboriginal children and human rights’ (Aboriginal Studies Press)

Human rights for Aboriginal women: a long way to go yet

Every year the United Nations marks March 8 as International Women’s Day as a day of celebration for women across the world and an opportunity to mark progress towards the realisation of gender equality. Sadly the situation in Australia for Aboriginal women gives little cause to celebrate. The widespread incarceration of women experiencing very high levels of family or partner violence along with increasing removals of children shows that we have a long way to go to ensure human rights for Aboriginal women are respected.

Aboriginal women encounter multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence based on both race and gender, and contact with the legal system will more likely see them processed as offenders rather than victims. This was most evident in the case of Ms Dhu, a young 22 year old West Australian Yamatji woman who died in a Port Hedland police cell just three days after being taken into custody for non-payment of fines.

Ms Dhu sustained injuries at the hands of her de facto partner shortly prior to being arrested and although both she and her grandmother – who contacted the police with her fears – told police officers she had been ‘flogged’ by her partner and sustained rib fractures as a result, they refused to acknowledge her as a victim with injuries, deciding against all the objective evidence that she was ‘faking’ it.

The circumstances of Ms Dhu’s death, captured on CCTV, show the deadly consequence of gender-based violence amplified by individual and systemic racism that permeated the responses from the police.

The police did not act alone. Ms Dhu was taken to the hospital on three occasions but barely assessed by the non-Aboriginal nurses or doctors who did not undertake basic medical procedures, such as taking her temperature or performing x-rays, which would have shown her serious infection and illness.

Medical staff accepted police opinion that her condition was merely ‘behavioral’ and sent her back to the cells where her condition of sepsis infection deteriorated before she died. Aboriginal people across Australia have reported that racism in hospitals and health care responses is commonplace.

State Coroner Rosalind Fogliano, who examined Ms Dhu’s death, described the conduct of police and health professionals as ‘inhumane’ and ‘unprofessional’. However, she did not refer any of the police or health personnel to the state prosecutor or any regulatory body. Most of the officers involved in Ms Dhu’s death have since been promoted. No medical staff faced any disciplinary actions.

The Deaths in Custody Watch Committee made extensive submissions concerning the way in which gender based violence and racism, Ms Dhu’s intersectional identity and vulnerability – as Aboriginal, woman, victim, prisoner – but this was ignored by the Coroner.

We do not agree with the lack of justice afforded to Ms Dhu. As the Aboriginal girls choir of the Pilbara ‘Maaliya’ sing, ‘Now they’re Whitewashing away the evidence’ asking us ‘Did Dhu die for nothing? No she didn’t!’

As Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women across Australia, the United States, New Zealand and Canada, we have made a stand in support of Ms Dhu’s family, advocating for the dismantling of institutions perpetuating structural and systemic forms of violence and abuse.

Aboriginal women in some parts of Australia are believed to constitute the most victimised group of people or women in the world, and are the ‘fastest growing’ prison population in Australia. It is well known that incarceration rates for Aboriginal women are linked to the double discrimination that women face in the criminal justice system on the basis of both race and gender.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Dubravka Šimonović heard from Aboriginal women on her recent visit about the suffering resulting from child protection practices that are leading to widespread removal of Aboriginal children, including newborns infants, from their mothers at rates exceeding those that occurred under the discriminatory era of the ‘The Stolen generations’. Ms Šimonović noted the high levels of Aboriginal child removal under policies that she thought were ‘belonging to the past’ had continued and, in effect, maintained the cycle of violence against Aboriginal women. A specific National Action Plan on violence for Aboriginal women would be consistent with Article 22 and 23 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Imprisonment of Aboriginal women should only be a matter of last resort.

Contrary to human rights, the lives of Aboriginal women and girls nationwide are undermined on a daily widespread basis through entrenched practices of discrimination impeding the wellbeing of families, communities and cultures. This year on IWD we call on all Australian women to stand in solidarity with us as we resist widespread human rights violations being witnessed.

 

 

this article is an edited version as appeared on ABC Opinion www.abc.net.au

RAWA Anthology – International Women’s Day 2017

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Suzanne Ingram is a Wiradjuri woman based in Sydney. She is on the board of Mudgin-gal Aboriginal Women’s Corporation and is Indigenous Health Lead with the UNSW Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation

The long shadow of violent predators on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership

Who are the people in this photo? Several are well-known and, in some cases, regarded as Aboriginal ‘leaders’ and ‘elders’. More about them in a moment.

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(clockwise from left): Geoff Clark; Les Malezer (former Congress Co-Chair), Tennille Lamb, Katie Kiss (Congress Director), Terry O’Shane, Geoff Scott (Congress CEO), Victoria Tauli-Corpuz; Millie Ingram; Norma Ingram (Congress Director)

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander political narrative is couched in ‘resetting the relationship’ with government, and lists family violence as one of the pressing social justice issues to be addressed. Following almost two weeks of consultations across Australia, with the exception of Western Australia, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against women, its causes and consequences, Dubravka Šimonović, reported on her recent tour with a dire assessment of Australia’s inadequacy in addressing this violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children, which in some communities is out of control.

Ms Šimonović’s report applauded Australia as one of the first countries to sign up to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW sets obligations for states on violence against women. In singling out the government’s third Action Plan for criticism, Ms Šimonović also noted the failure of the ‘Close the Gap’ strategy in relation to ‘gender equality and violence against women’. Her report makes specific recommendation for a National Action Plan that includes ‘temporary special measures that would accelerate the advancement of indigenous women’ .

Which brings us to the photo above. It was taken in Sydney on the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli Corpuz’s, previous Australian visit*. She is with current directors, CEO and former co-chair of The Congress of Australia’s First Nations Peoples, the peak organisational representative for Aboriginal people’s advancement. Within weeks of this photo being taken, Ms Tauli Corpuz released the UN report on the human rights violations relating to Indigenous women and girls. We might well wonder at the table conversation – given the escalating and alarming statistics of abuse and sexual violence against Aboriginal women and children – taking place in the company of Geoff Clark, disgraced former chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) found guilty of rape in 2007.

On the morning of Malcolm Turnbull’s Close the Gap report on 14 February, Congress Co-Chairs Jackie Huggins and Rod Little delivered to the Prime Minister the ‘Redfern Statement’, cradled in a coolamon, in an elaborate ceremony at Parliament House. The Sydney suburb of Redfern is a potent symbolic presence in Aboriginal politics, so naming their manifesto the ‘Redfern Statement’ suggests Congress has devised and delivered it on behalf and with the consent of a majority of Australia’s First Nations people. But in the same week of its actual launch during last year’s federal election, Dr Huggins issued a media release with Mr Clark titled ‘What Australia’s First Peoples want and need from Government’ (since removed from its website). Members of the community who were shocked at what they saw as an alignment with Mr Clark complained on Congress’ Facebook page but their comments were deleted by  Congress’ moderator for ‘lateral violence’ against Mr Clark.

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Press release issued by Congress in the week of the ‘Redfern Statement’ launch

Despite the ‘Redfern Statement’s’ weighty backing, with mainstream organisations such as Amnesty International, the Australian Council of Social Service, Australian Medical Association and the Law Council of Australia, and the Australian Human Rights Commission’s extolling of it in its 2016 Social Justice and Native Title Report, it has not gained the robust traction needed – Redfern locals say that they haven’t read it, and the federal government has not committed to re-fund Congress. Why?

One answer could well be that Congress is suffering a legitimation crisis. Two reasons could be put forward for this. First, Congress’ claim to be the nationally elected representative voice of Australia’s First Peoples is slim. It rests on a membership base of less than 10,000, at a conservative estimate this equates to 4.5% of the total national Indigenous adult population (voter turn-out is significantly less). Low membership numbers are not accounted for by its unique structure as a registered company – the NSW Aboriginal Land Council alone counts its membership in the vicinity of 20,000, and Aboriginal people in every State and Territory are familiar with membership voting procedures.

A second reason is more likely: the ways in which Congress leadership is elected and called to account. In the nationwide deliberations that created Congress, women called for equal structural status as a means of addressing the serious problem by male perpetrators that brought down ATSIC. But although Congress has this gender balance, it has not undertaken a serious program of work for advancing women’s issues. In fact, it made recommendations to the UN to ‘expand’ the definition of violence, from violence against women to a more amorphous violence against Indigenous people. In contrast, Congress’ focus in the ‘Redfern Statement’, its blueprint for its survival, is heavily planked on the social justice premise. Congress’ structure incorporated an Ethics Council, however, it appears to be inactive. Invoking a human rights framework to prop up its agenda with neither internal or external accountability measures brings these particular leadership claims into question.

The demise of ATSIC left a fundamental gap in Aboriginal affairs. Congress could and should have filled that gap. But when accountability of perpetrators is absent in organisational structures, validated by mainstream agencies who unquestioningly sign up to this ‘leadership’, a truly representative political system is unattainable.

This IWD we boldly ask: how comfortable were the people in the picture to be photographed with Geoff Clark?

* Victoria Tauli Corpuz returns to Australia on 20 March

 

 

 

 

 

updated 11 March 2017 10:03am