NAIDOC Week 2018: ANZSOG Dean and CEO Professor Ken Smith’s message

Timeless by Jordan Roser
  • Published Date: 05 July 2018

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year the focus is on the positive role that Indigenous women have played, and continue to play, across Australian society, including our public services.

ANZSOG is embarking on its own journey to ensure we live up to our responsibility to include Indigenous ways of knowing and being in our mission to lift the quality of public sector management in Australia and New Zealand.

RELATED: Read more about ANZSOG’s Indigenous engagement

Our public services can only effectively serve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities if they employ Indigenous people at all levels, involve local communities in planning, development and delivery of services, and understand Indigenous knowledge and culture. ANZSOG is working to ensure that this is reflected across our education, research and other activities.

Later this month, we will partner with the Victorian Public Service Commission to bring a delegation of Aboriginal leaders from the Victorian Public Service to Wellington, so they can learn about the successes of the Treaty Settlement process in Aotearoa-New Zealand, as well as innovations in government-Māori relations. Victoria is playing a major leadership role in recognising Aboriginal people through the negotiation of a formal Treaty, so I am delighted that way can play a role in this historic process.

Ken SmithIn June this year, ANZSOG, in partnership with the Melbourne School of Government, launched Griffith Review 60: First Things First, which responded to the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’. At the launch, we heard from the Victorian Commissioner for Treaty Advancement Ms. Jill Gallagher AO, a proud Gunditjmara woman, and Professor Kerry Arabena of the University of Melbourne, a descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait. 

Both Jill and Kerry are inspiring figures who have committed themselves to justice and the promotion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in not only the public sector but in the wider community.  They are just two of the Indigenous women making a real difference throughout  Australia.

We held the Indigenous Affairs and Public Administrations: Can’t we do better? Conference at the University of Sydney last year, which brought nearly 300 delegates from the public sector, community and academia across Australia

and New Zealand to particularly reflect on 50 years since the 1967 Australian Referendum and the clarification of Commonwealth responsibility for Indigenous Affairs nationally. 

This conference was followed in December 2017, by the inaugural Senior Indigenous Public Servant Forum held at the Crawford School of Public Policy, the ANU. At this forum, the most senior Indigenous public sector leaders met to discuss the major challenges facing the public sector and barriers to Indigenous leadership at the highest levels of the service. 

Across 2018 and early 2019, we will be continuing our funding and support partnership with the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the New Zealand State Services Commission to deliver a follow-up Conference and Forum. We will be delivering these events in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Māori public sector leaders from all our member governments, with a focus on tackling the most pressing challenges facing public administration in Indigenous Affairs across Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand. 

ANZSOG will continue to provide the education that gives Indigenous public sector leaders the skills to be their best, and become a force for positive change and bring Indigenous knowledge into the mainstream.

ANZSOG alumni are leading across the Indigenous Affairs space, including EMPA alumni Dr Chris Sarra AO who has recently taken up the role of director general of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships in Queensland. 

Alum Paulleen Markwort, from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, recently featured in an ANZSOG video, detailing how she had gone from being the first of her family to finish high school, to an ANZSOG graduate and public servant who had been able to ‘build a platform’ for vulnerable Aboriginal people. Watch it below:

I hope that many other Indigenous Australians and New Zealanders can participate in  ANZSOG programs, and we can continue to play our part in reconciling our shared histories and help create better futures for subsequent generations.

I hope you are able to find the time this week to get involved and be part of important NAIDOC celebrations in your workplace and community.

About the artwork: ‘Timeless’ was painted by Bigambul artist Jordan Roser. The artwork was commissioned by ANZSOG for the 2017 Indigenous Affairs and Public Administration Conference. Find out more.