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Women's Voices, Action for Change

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“Women are the social fabric of our communities and the glue that holds everything together. We are sovereign women. It is time to listen to our voices now.”

We all deserve to be seen and heard. But for too long, the powerful voices and stories of First Nations Women have not been listened to or recognised. The landmark Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) project seeks to change this – and to build a better future of First Nations gender justice and equality across Australia.

You’re invited to join the Australian Human Rights Commission for the launch of Yajilarra nhingi, mindija warrma (from dreams, let's make it reality), a beautiful animation which tells the story of First Nations women’s voices.

Hear from an incredible panel about the role women play in shaping and protecting culture and community – and what you can do to support First Nations gender justice and equality. Come on this journey with us.

Join us online at 1.00PM on 24 NOV 2021.

This powerful discussion will be led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO, in conversation with Professor Marcia Langton AO, Fiona Cornforth, Teela Reid and Charlee-Sue Frail.

The conversation will be facilitated by Patricia Karvelas (ABC), with a special welcome from Rosalind Croucher AM, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission. The panel will discuss the findings of Wiyi Yani U Thangani and how we can all better support the needs of women and girls as we move towards First Nations gender justice and equality.

The Animation: Yajilarra nhingi, mindija warrma (from dreams, let's make it reality)

In the Bunuba language, Yajilarra nhingi, mindija warrma means ‘from dreams, let’s make it reality’. The animation captures the story of Wiyi Yani U Thangani – the story of strength, resilience, sovereignty and power that has been told by the voices of First Nations women. This is a story that needs to be shared. It is a call to action. It is a voice for hope and change. By sharing this animation and the stories of First Nations women, we can move towards First Nations gender justice and equality in Australia.

The Project:

Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) is a once in a generation, landmark report – reflecting the views and voices of First Nations women and girls across Australia. It builds on the work of the 1986 Women’s Business report. A major message throughout the Report is that structural change and systemic reform are needed in order to combat and overcome inequalities and intergenerational harms and trauma impacting women and girls across all areas of their lives. Women and girls spoke of the need for systems to recognise and support their holistic realities and invest in their incredible worth—for the benefit of all of society. Read more about Wiyi Yani U Thangani.

The Panellists:

June Oscar AO, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner


June Oscar AO is a proud Bunuba woman from the remote town of Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. She is a strong advocate for Indigenous Australian languages, social justice, women’s issues, and has worked tirelessly to reduce Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

June has held a raft of influential positions including Deputy Director of the Kimberley Land Council, chair of the Kimberley Language Resource Centre and the Kimberley Interpreting Service and Chief Investigator with WA’s Lililwan Project addressing FASD.

June began her five-year term as Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner on 3 April 2017.

Professor Marcia Langton AO, BA (Hons), ANU, PhD Macq. U, D. Litt. ANU, FASSA

Professor Marcia Langton AO is the granddaughter of an Iman man and is proud of her Indigenous heritage from her grandmother who worked in the pastoral industry in southwest and western Queensland. Langton has qualifications in anthropology and geography, and since 2000 has held the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne. She has produced a large body of knowledge in the areas of political and legal anthropology, Indigenous agreements and engagement with the minerals industry, and Indigenous culture and art. Professor Langton is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, a Fellow of Trinity College, Melbourne and an Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College at the University of Queensland. In 2016 Professor Langton was honoured as a University of Melbourne Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor. In 2017 Professor was appointed as the first Associate Provost at the University of Melbourne.

Fiona Cornforth, CEO Healing Foundation

Fiona Cornforth is a Wuthathi (Shelburne Bay) descendant with family roots in the Torres Straits. She has an extensive background working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. Fiona is a Masters Graduate of ANU’s College of Business and Economics, and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy of the UK. Holding past senior roles in community and government organisations, she utilised her global experience in education, leadership and business development to raise awareness around the impacts of intergenerational trauma.

Teela Reid, Lawyer & Activist

Teela Reid is a proud Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman, lawyer and storyteller born and raised in Gilgandra western NSW. Currently, she is a Sydney-based solicitor with experience practicing in land rights, criminal defence and civil litigation and is also the lawyer in residence at The University of Sydney Law School. Previously, Teela was tipstaff to the Honourable Justice Lucy McCallum of the NSW Supreme Court.

Teela is also the co-founder of @blackfulla_bookclub, a platform that celebrates First Nation’s Ancestors as the original storytellers.

Charlee-Sue Frail, Former adviser to Wiyi Yani U Thangani 

Charlee-Sue is a Ngemba woman, living and working in Canberra. She started her career in Aboriginal community health before moving into campaigning, engagement and policy work. She was the Manager of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement for Recognise, the constitutional recognition campaign and the Indigenous Programs Manager for AFL NSW/ACT before moving into cultural heritage reform work.

Charlee-Sue was a former Advisor to Wiyi Yani U Thangani and is still actively engaged. She is co-founder of the Brewarrina Mission Working Group and is an active advocate for First Nations water rights in the Barwon-Darling Basin. Charlee-Sue is a board member for the Dusseldorp Forum and she also sits on the Sydney Swans RAP Committee and is the Co-Chair for Lendlease’s RAP Expert Panel.

Facilitator: Patricia Karvelas, ABC

Patricia Karvelas is the presenter of RN Drive and has been a prominent senior journalist in the Australian media for 15 years, beginning her professional career in broadcast journalism at the ABC and SBS as both a producer and presenter.

She has worked for The Australian newspaper since 2002 covering federal politics, most recently working as the Victorian Bureau Chief and Editor and Senior National Affairs Journalist. Patricia specialised in Indigenous affairs reporting for more than 10 years.

Patricia has been a regular fill-in presenter on 774 ABC Melbourne, and frequently appears on a range of television and radio programs including RN's Sunday Extra and ABC TV's The Drum.

Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission

Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM was appointed as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission in July 2017, after seven and a half years as President of the Australian Law Reform Commission. In 2014 she was acknowledged for her contributions to public policy as one of Australia’s ‘100 Women of Influence’ and was awarded the Australian Women Lawyer’s award. In the Australia Day Honours list, 2015, Professor Croucher was made a Member of the Order of Australia; 2016 Macquarie University conferred on her the title of Emeritus Professor; and, in 2018 UNSW conferred on her an honorary LLD.

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