Legislative Council: Tuesday, July 05, 2022



The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (14:59): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister inform the council of the recent NAIDOC Awards luncheon?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:59): I thank the honourable member for his question. I am very happy to inform him of this event that occurred just yesterday. We are towards the beginning of NAIDOC Week nationwide, which runs from Sunday 3 July to Sunday 10 July, with events being held right across Australia to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Get up! Stand up! Show up! is this year's theme. It is a call for action to bring about systemic change and reflect on and acknowledge the history of this country and the significant acts and achievements of Aboriginal people in their own country.

A highlight each year of NAIDOC Week is the Premier's NAIDOC Awards, which is now combined with the community awards over a lunch at the start of NAIDOC Week. I had the privilege of attending the NAIDOC Awards lunch yesterday, where the Premier's NAIDOC Awards were awarded. Although historically the Premier's NAIDOC Awards has had a sole winner, 2022 quite appropriately had dual winners to acknowledge the impact that both an Aboriginal man and an Aboriginal woman have on their communities. Uncle Jeffrey Newchurch and Aunty Kunyi June McInerney were the joint winners.

The Premier's NAIDOC Awards is one of the main ways the South Australian government observes and celebrates NAIDOC Week each year. For more than a decade now, the Premier's NAIDOC Awards have recognised outstanding achievements and services of extraordinary South Australians who have made a significant difference to the lives of Aboriginal people in the state. Previous winners have included Uncle Moogy Sumner last year; Uncle Lewis O'Brien in 2019; Aunty Joyleen Thomas in 2018; Uncle Frank Wanganeen and Aunty Alice Rigney, who received a posthumous award in 2017; Wendy Edmondson in 2016; and Lavene Ngatokorua and Kali Hayward in 2015.

The lunch, as well as being a celebration for the Premier's awards and community awards, was also an important opportunity to reflect on the achievements of Aboriginal people. I am pleased that, as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, I was able to attend with a number of my ministerial colleagues, including the Premier, who attended on this occasion. I note that almost all my ministerial colleagues attended, and it was well reflected upon that almost all the state cabinet attended the NAIDOC lunch awards yesterday. I think it was important that the ministers who attended did not just sit on one table and talk to each other, they were spread throughout the event on various tables, as I think Uncle Jeffrey Newchurch noted in a radio interview this morning.

I would like to conclude by thanking all those involved in organising not just this event but all the events that are spread out in NAIDOC Week: the NAIDOC Committee, ably led for quite a number of years now by Aunty Joyleen Thomas, and the team at Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, with the event emceed by Kirstie Parker. I thank all those who attended.