Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, right, pours earth into the hand of Vincent Lingiari. Picture: Merv Bishop, 1975
Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, right, pours earth into the hand of Vincent Lingiari. Picture: Merv Bishop, 1975

Gough Whitlam remembered as Indigenous rights champion

OCTOBER 15: Tributes from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations are flowing for former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, who died this morning, aged 98. The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples put out a statement saying that “no other Prime Minister has shown such strong commitment and motivation to implement the needed reforms to laws and policies to respect of the rights of the First Peoples of Australia”. The Northern Territory Northern Land Council chair Samuel Bush Blanasi said Mr Whitlam was a great champion of the rights of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. “In August 1975, only three months before his removal as Prime Minister, Mr Whitlam heralded land rights legislation in the Territory when he famously handed back the lease of Wave Hill Station to Aboriginal traditional owners,” he said.

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Four police officers to stand trial

Corey Barker.
Corey Barker.
Thursday, 16 October 2014 6:35 pm

FOUR NSW police officers will stand trial for offences relating to the assault of Dhunghutti man Corey Barker in Ballina, northern NSW, in January 2011. In the Downing Centre Local Court Constable Lee Walmsley, Const Ryan Eckersley, former Sergeant Robert McCubben and Senior Const Mark Woolven were committed to stand trial after waiving their right to a committal hearing. The Police Integrity Commission found the officers subjected Mr Barker to “brutal and violent” treatment and falsely claimed he had hit an officer. The officers are pleading not guilty.

NACCHO urges Govt to drop GP proposal

NACCHO chair Justin Mohamed.
NACCHO chair Justin Mohamed.
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 5:36 pm

THE National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has told a Senate committee that the proposed GP co-payment and changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme would discourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients seeking preventative health care and impact on efforts to close the gap in Aboriginal life expectancy. NACCHO chair Justin Mohamed said health policy should recognise Aboriginal people’s increasing preference to use Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services over mainstream.

Mark Ella to advise Cricket NSW/ACT

Mark Ella, left, with his brothers Gary, centre, and Glen.
Mark Ella, left, with his brothers Gary, centre, and Glen.
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 3:30 pm

FORMER Australian rugby union star and current NITV executive producer of sport Mark Ella has been appointed chairman of the new NSW and ACT Indigenous Cricket Advisory Committee. The committee will provide strategic guidance to Cricket NSW and Cricket ACT on how best to get Indigenous communities involved in cricket, while also providing opportunities and assistance to talented Indigenous players to progress in the game. Cricket NSW and Cricket ACT are calling for nominations to fill the remaining five positions on the committee.

Corroboree Sydney releases program

Jess Beck, Hetti Perkins and Michael O’Loughlin. Picture: James Horan
Jess Beck, Hetti Perkins and Michael O’Loughlin. Picture: James Horan
Monday, 13 October 2014 5:03 pm

CORROBOREE Sydney has launched the program for its second annual event, showcasing contemporary and traditional Indigenous arts and culture. Corroboree Sydney artistic director Hetti Perkins said from November 20-30 more than 100 Indigenous artists would perform around Sydney’s foreshore. Among the program highlights is the Gurung Parade of more than 3000 children through Sydney CBD, a traditional firelight ceremony, Black Arts Markets and the return of Homeground, a free-two day outdoor event at the Opera House featuring Dan Sultan.

Government urged to help with mental health

Professor Pat Dudgeon.
Professor Pat Dudgeon.
Friday, 10 October 2014 3:06 pm

NATIONAL Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership in Mental Health (NATSILMH) chair Professor Pat Dudgeon marked World Mental Health Day by calling on Australian Governments to close the mental health gap between Indigenous and other Australians. “Indigenous Australians are already suffering double the rates of psychological distress, mental illnesses and suicide as other Australians, but the data suggests the gap may be getting wider,” Prof Dudgeon said.

Yurrkuru back in hands of traditional owners

Yurrkuru traditional owners.
Yurrkuru traditional owners.
Thursday, 9 October 2014 4:57 pm

FEDERAL Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion handed the title for Yurrkuru (Brooks Soak) back to traditional owners at a ceremony near Yuendumu in the Northern Territory yesterday. The former Crown land surrounded by the Mt Denison pastoral lease includes the sacred site where the dingo trapper Fred Brooks was killed by Aboriginal men in 1928. The killing triggered a series of reprisal killings of large numbers of innocent Aboriginal people across the region by Constable George Murray. The raids became known as the Coniston Massacre.

Frankland nominated as Victorian of the Year

Richard Frankland.
Richard Frankland.
Wednesday, 8 October 2014 5:37 pm

GUNDITJMARA man Richard Frankland is one of four finalists for the Victorian Australian of the Year award. A celebrated singer, songwriter, poet, film maker, author and humanist, Mr Frankland worked as a soldier and fisherman before his role as field officer during the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody inspired him to write several plays and documentaries. Bundjalung woman Amelia Telford, 20, is a finalist for the Victorian Young Australian of the Year.

Thurston up for Queenslander of the Year

Johnathan Thurston at this year's Origin III.
Johnathan Thurston at this year's Origin III.
Tuesday, 7 October 2014 4:40 pm

ON top of his multiple playing awards this year, rugby league star Johnathan Thurston has been named as one of the finalists in the Queensland Australian of the Year. Indigenous health and community advocate Jean Little from Mapoon is a finalist in the Queensland Senior Australian of the Year and Logan Aboriginal Elder Barry Watson is a state finalist in Australia’s Local Hero.

No more prison time for former college principal

Former principal Jean Illingworth
Former principal Jean Illingworth
Friday, 3 October 2014 3:52 pm

October 3: A former principal who fraudulently claimed millions of taxpayer dollars for a top Indigenous school will not spend any more in jail. Jean Illingworth admitted inflating student numbers to get $3.4 million in extra funding for Djarragun College, near Cairns. The 67-year-old appeared in the Cairns District Court where she was sentenced to three years’ jail on one charge of obtaining property by deception, and two-and-a-half years’ on one charge of fraud. But Judge Terry Martin ordered she serve 351 days in prison – the time she has already served in pre-sentence custody.

Female prisoners may sue over strip searches

Prison wire 1
Wednesday, 1 October 2014 2:52 pm

October 1: Female prisoners – most of them Indigenous – at a north Queensland jail could sue the State Government over unlawful strip searches. A Queensland Ombudsman’s investigation has found the Townsville Women’s Correctional Centre conducted unlawful and unreasonable strip searches on inmates who were receiving medications. Debbie Kilroy, from support group Sisters Inside, says the searches, over 10 months to March this year, equated to abuse by the state.