Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

New Indigenous Women’s Advisory Group

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new advisory group designed to further enhance the Commonwealth Government’s work with indigenous women.

The 13-member Indigenous Women’s Advisory Group met in Canberra today for the first time.

The Advisory Group will provide advice to the Government to ensure that our programmes and policies address the needs of indigenous women.

The formation of the Advisory Group resulted from a meeting early last year of Women’s Ministers from Australia and New Zealand when it was agreed that they would work directly with indigenous women to develop an action plan that reflects the priorities under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) reconciliation process.

The Advisory Group consists of indigenous women who have been selected from around Australia for their skills, expertise, knowledge of indigenous issues and participation in their local community.

It will meet twice a year and will work closely with the Office of the Status of Women to progress the agenda on indigenous women’s issues.

Among the issues to be discussed at the first workshop include Indigenous women’s leadership, women in government, regaining traditional women’s business, media portrayal of women and children, economic independence, work and family, domestic violence, sexual abuse, reconciliation and rebuilding community capacity.

The members of the new Indigenous Women’s Advisory Group are:

Peena Geia (Palm Island, Queensland)former Chair Palm Island Aboriginal Council, member of the Queensland Domestic Violence Council.

Prof Mary Ann Bin-Sallik (Darwin) Dean of Facility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Northern Territority University.

Murial Cadd (Melbourne) Director of the Aboriginal Child Care Agency in Victoria.

Kerry Arabena (Canberra) Director, Family Planning Association. A social worker with a background in community development and public health, involved with advisory groups including the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council.

Helen Corbett (Perth) Chair of Indigenous Women Australia Corporation. Worked for three years as the Director General for the World’s Indigenous Peoples Organisation located in the Netherlands.

Monica Morgan (Cummeragunga, Victoria) Chief Executive Officer of the Yorta Yorta Corporation, specialises in native title and community issues.

Jackie Huggins (Brisbane) Previously a Member of the Council for Reconciliation and Deputy Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit, University of Queensland.

Barbara McCarthy (Darwin) ABC Radio Darwin. Barbara has many years experience in Indigenous media and as a journalist has been instrumental in involving Indigenous people in media activities.

Tammy Williams (Cairns) A young indigenous woman, Tammy is a member of several taskforces including theYouth Pathways Taskforce and the Board of Foundation for Young Australians.

Rosie Smith (Hobart) Lawyer working with various Indigenous communities organisations on children and women’s issues.

Josephine Bowie-Perry (Whyalla) South Australian representative on the Office of Torres Strait Islander Affairs Advisory Committee to ATSIC.

Lola Forester (Sydney) Head of Program, Indigenous Program SBS Radio, Lola was recently sponsored by the Ford Foundation in New York to attend the ‘Black Women Speak’ conference in Cape Town, South Africa.

Terri Janke (Sydney) Lawyer and Principal Director of Terri Janke and Associates, legal and entertainment lawyers and consultants.