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AuSI Annual Lecture 2020: Pat Turner AM delivers a powerful speech
Professor Mark Kenny (AuSI) and Ms Pat Turner AM. Photo by Lyn Mills for the National Press Club of Australia.
Tuesday 13 October 2020
On Wednesday 30 September, Ms Pat Turner AM (CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation & Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community-Controlled Peak Organisations) delivered the 2020 ‘Australia and the World’ Annual Lecture: ‘The Long Cry of Indigenous Peoples to be heard – a defining moment in Australia’ at the National Press Club of Australia.
“Here at AuSI we're delighted that Pat Turner used our annual 'Australia and the World Lecture' to challenge all of us to do more to support renewed efforts to 'Close the Gap': The people want governments 'to get this done'. She's right.”
– Professor Paul Pickering, Director, Australian Studies Institute, ANU (AuSI)
We would like to thank Professor Mark Kenny (AuSI) for moderating the event, and Professor Brian Schmidt AC, Vice-Chancellor ANU, for formally introducing Ms Pat Turner AM.
About the Lecture
Pat Turner is an Aboriginal woman, the daughter of an Arrente man and a Gurdanji woman, whose life has been dedicated to bringing to fruition the long cry of Indigenous Peoples of Australia to be heard. Pat discussed the call of Indigenous Peoples across the globe to be heard on matters that have a significant impact on them as Indigenous Peoples and what ‘being heard’ means in the Australian context. Examples of the structures that enable Indigenous Peoples to be heard around the world were identified.
Pat then reviewed progress here in Australia. So far, Australia has not found a way for its Indigenous Peoples to be truly heard. There have been some recent rays of hope, demonstrated by the National Agreement on Closing the Gap where governments have made historic commitments to shared decision-making with Indigenous Peoples on policies and programs. At the same time, there are stark examples of where Indigenous Peoples are not being heard on matters of vital importance to them such as laws to protect their sacred and cultural sites and a deaf ear to the key elements of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Pat explained why the struggle of Indigenous peoples in Australia to be heard is at a defining moment for the nation. On one hand, there is now an opportunity to be better heard with the full implementation of shared decision-making with governments across the country under the Partnership and National Agreements on Closing the Gap. On the other hand, there are risks to this progress being made and Pat will explore these and raise the consequences for Australia if they are not addressed.
The 'Australia and the World' annual lecture aims to promote a broader conversation about Australia's place in the world and is one of the founding programs of the Australian Studies Institute, ANU.