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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
2020 ‘ANU Australia and the World Annual Lecture': The Long Cry of Indigenous Peoples to be heard – a defining moment in Australia

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

National Press Club of Australia

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 will discuss 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 will be identified.

Pat will then review 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 will explain 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. 

Patricia Turner AM, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

The daughter of an Arrernte man and a Gurdanji woman, Pat was raised in Alice Springs.  As CEO of NACCHO, she is at the forefront of community efforts to Close the Gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  Pat has over 40 years’ experience in senior leadership positions in government, business and academia including being the only Aboriginal person, only woman and longest serving CEO of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Commission (ATSIC).  Amongst her many appointments, she also spent 18 months as Monash Chair of Australian Studies, Georgetown University, Washington DC, and was inaugural CEO of NITV.  Pat is the Coalition of Peaks Convenor and Co-Chair of the Joint Council on Closing the Gap. Pat holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Canberra where she was awarded the University prize for Development Studies.

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