Legislative Council: Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (14:57): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister inform the council about the work of the Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation and the return of the Kaurna Reconciliation Sculptures to their rightful place at the entrance of the Adelaide Festival Centre?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:57): I can, and I thank the honourable member for his question. I know he has been a big supporter of that particular peace foundation. I was fortunate to speak at, earlier this year before the election, the return of the Kaurna sculptures to the entrance of the Adelaide Festival Centre, but in addition to that I was also fortunate, only on 5 May, to attend the Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation annual general meeting and Peace Dinner in North Adelaide. I would like to thank the member for Adelaide, Lucy Hood MP, who also attended that event.

The peace foundation in 2019 celebrated 30 years of awarding artists who change and challenge the world through their art. Leonie Ebert established this foundation as a legacy to the lifelong work of her late husband, activist and educator, Graham F. Smith. On the most recent occasion I was invited on behalf of the Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation to officially present the COVID-delayed 2020 Annual Peace Award to Malcolm McKinnon, producer and director for Reckless Eye Productions for the documentary Beyond Sorry.

The theme for this particular evening was 'Reconciliation—through truth telling', which indeed was a perfect theme for the night and the winner of the award. The particular film in question, Reckless Eye Productions' Beyond Sorry, set out to produce a film about Aboriginal and settler descendants coming together to confront legacies of violence from Australia's pastoral frontier and how these stories are more than just a historical construct. These stories that Mr McKinnon has told create great awareness of how the memories of colonial violence still resonate powerfully today, especially within the lives of many Aboriginal people still today. The film was influenced by the words of Charlie Perkins, 'We know we cannot live in the past, but the past lives in us.'

I was honoured to be able to present Mr McKinnon with the COVID-delayed 2020 peace prize award for the important documentary. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Léonie Ebert, founder of the Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation, and Naomi Ebert Smith, chair of the foundation, for hosting such an incredible night to show the power of the arts and social change.

As I mentioned at the start, earlier this year I was fortunate to attend Kaurna Reconciliation Sculptures reinterring. I think there were a number of members of this chamber; I remember seeing the Hon. Tung Ngo and the Hon. Emily Bourke at the Festival Centre for the reinterment of the Kaurna sculptures earlier this year. They were originally commissioned by the peace foundation in 2002 and returned to their home at the entrance of the Adelaide Festival Centre after five years absence due to the redevelopment of the Festival Centre.

I had the good fortune earlier this year to speak at that occasion, along with the then Premier and member for Dunstan, Steven Marshall. These sculptures were gifted to the Kaurna people in recognition of their traditional ownership and custodianship of the Adelaide Plains. It is good to see them back as a focal point, recognising this ownership and communicating some of the Kaurna story in the heart of the arts here in South Australia in the CBD at the Festival Centre.