Adam Goodes to discuss Indigenous affairs at ANZSOG conference 

Adam Goodes
  • Published Date: 18 February 2019

Former Sydney Swans AFL player Adam Goodes has an unrivalled record as an Indigenous sports star who has used his profile to help his community, encourage Australians to re-examine their attitudes to their history and the effects of racism on Indigenous people.

He will share his experience and insights with attendees at ANZSOG’s Reimagining Public Administration: First Peoples, governance and new paradigms conference at Melbourne’s Federation Square on 20-21 February 2019, as keynote speaker at the conference dinner.

The conference - held with the support of the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) - will bring together public servants, academics and Indigenous leaders from across Australia and New Zealand to discuss how we can improve Indigenous affairs policy by listening to Indigenous communities and involving them in all aspects of the policy process. 

Goodes, who has Adnyamathanha and Narungga ancestry from South Australia, remains passionate about ensuring that Indigenous people and communities can achieve their full potential.

He told ANZSOG that governments needed to work more closely with Indigenous communities.

“They need to work with communities to find how what they want and really need to make a difference as it is different for each community,” he said.

He said that Australia needed to embrace its Indigenous history and become connected to the longest surviving culture in the world.

“I would like to see Indigenous languages taught and spoken in schools, and our 60,000 years of history celebrated. I would also like to see Indigenous people holding senior roles in our community as CEOs, board members, leaders, home owners and scholars,” he said.

ANZSOG is also committed to building Indigenous leadership in the public service and increasing representation of Indigenous people at all levels. The conference will discuss ways of promoting the use of Indigenous knowledge and culture to create public value.

GO Foundation helping Indigenous students

Goodes, along with fellow Swans player Michael O‘Loughlin, started the GO Foundation in 2011 to help Indigenous students succeed at school and university.

The Foundation offers scholarships that give students financial assistance for educational needs, as well as cultural and corporate mentoring and support on the transition from school to university or work.

Goodes says that he wants to give Indigenous students the chance to go from public schools to university and VET studies, by supporting their ambitions from an early age.

“I think we all have a role to play to help schools who have high populations of Indigenous students. It’s not something we should leave up to the government. Whether it is helping with school uniforms, books, pencils, breakfast clubs, mentoring, after school care. All of these helped me on my journey through my schooling,” he said.

Goodes has been an active supporter of the movement to Recognise Indigenous people in Australia’s constitution, saying in 2014 that “Australian history doesn't suddenly start in 1788, it begins with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders.”

The conference will include discussion of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the need for a ‘Makarrata’ process to examine agreement-making between Australia’s governments and First Peoples.

Other speakers at the conference include: Melbourne University’s Professor Marcia Langton; PM&C’s Professor Ian Anderson; academic and social justice campaigner Professor Tom Calma and former Obama Administration special assistant on Native American Affairs, Dr Karen Diver. Out of 54 speakers, 50 represent First Peoples of Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Registrations for the conference are now at full capacity. ANZSOG will publish summaries and outcomes over the next few months.

The conference is just part of ANZSOG’s ongoing efforts to improve Indigenous representation in our public services. ANZSOG will continue to bring together public servants, academics and Indigenous representatives at conferences and forums in coming years.

Follow the conference on February 20-21 via: #FirstPeoples2019