NAIDOC Week Celebration

16 July 2019

Follow any media – social and traditional – and you can see the huge range of NAIDOC Week events across the State and the public sector.
Professor Colleen Hayward AM addressed staff at the Public Sector Commission on Friday 12 July and spoke about the theme of the week: ‘Voice Treaty Truth’.
Public Sector Commissioner Sharyn O’Neill introduced her long time mentor and friend Professor Hayward, a senior Noongar woman with extensive family links throughout the south-west of WA.
In the frame of this year’s NAIDOC Week theme, Professor Hayward started her address to a captivated Commission audience about the abolishment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).
The abolishment of ATSIC, Professor Hayward remarked, meant that Aboriginal people lacked a voice. She noted the absence of treaties in Australia, juxtaposing it to New Zealand which has delegated seats for Māori Members of Parliament.
“The truths of this nation are not pleasant,” she said.
“They were murders and massacres, the theft of the land, theft of children – those are truths. You don’t have to have taken part in any of it but it’s important to understand that others did. We all have to play a part in rectifying it.”
Hollie Yarran, an inspirational 2015 graduate of the Commission’s Aboriginal Traineeship Program, shared her experiences of working in the sector.
“The traineeship was fantastic and changed my career,” she said. “My advice to trainees is to step up and take opportunities. Shine bright and show everyone that our generation is ready to take on the world.”  
After thanking Professor Hayward and Ms Yarran for their contributions to the proceedings, Commissioner Sharyn O’Neill rounded off events by stating the Commission’s commitment to the journey of reconciliation not just during NAIDOC Week but every day.
“We set ourselves in recognition and acknowledgement and celebration, and really importantly – in learning. We have to keep learning,” she said.
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Page last updated 19 July 2019