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2017 Narrm Oration

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice

2017 Narrm Oration

Resilience and Reconstruction: the agency of women in rebuilding strong families, communities and organisations

The University of Melbourne

June Oscar

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner

Australian Human Rights Commission

Thursday 16 November 2017



Yaningi warangira ngindaji yuwa muwayi ingirranggu, Wurundjeri yani U. Balangarri wadjirragali jarra ningi – gamali ngindaji yau muwayi nyirrami ngarri thangani. Yaningi miya ngindaji Muwayi ingga winyira ngarragi thangani. Yathawarra, wilalawarra jalangurru ngarri guda.

Good evening everyone.

I would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people who are the Traditional Custodians of this Land.

I would also like to pay my deep respects to the Elders of the Kulin nation - past, present and the generations yet to come - and to extend this respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians present.

In particular, I want to acknowledge all of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women leaders who have in their lifetimes called Victoria home, women like Winnifred (Narrandjeri) Quagliotti, the late elder spokesperson for the Wurundjeri people. Renowned for her kindness, foresight and frankness of bearing, Aunty Winnie united her people under the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Compensation and Cultural Heritage Council.

We will forever remember her dressed in traditional attire and protesting the arrival of colonial-era style ships in Melbourne for the 1988 bicentenary celebrations, an act that marked a decisive moment in the recognition of rights for Aboriginal Victorians.[1]

I also want to acknowledge all women – all people – indigenous and non-indigenous – working with and alongside the first peoples of this nation.

Thank you, Associate Provost, for your warm welcome. It is a great privilege to be here and to deliver the Narrm Oration which derives its name from the land upon which this great city is built.

Social Justice Commissioner

My name is June Oscar, I am a Bunuba woman, and I address you today as the first Aboriginal woman appointed to the role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner.

Delivering my acknowledgments in my mother’s and grandmother’s language, the language of Bunuba country, which stretches back into a deep past, gives me such strength in occupying this position. I speak my language to express my own identity, to affirm my connection to this country and nation and as acknowledgment to our people, our Indigenous knowledge of Australia and our remarkable legacy and achievements as the nation’s First Peoples.

Tonight I want to focus on what it means to be an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman in this nation, both historically and today. The focus of this oration is ‘resilience and reconstruction’, and I believe that one of the best ways of understanding how societies withstand large scale traumas and re-cohere around societal practices of health and wellbeing is through the stories of women. The stories I’ll share tonight come from women who are our grandmothers, our forebearers, our sisters today, and our heroines – they fought for their rights and freedoms to secure them for generations to come. Their lives are vessels carrying stories which teach us invaluable lessons of how to nurture the next generation into health, strength and success.

Upholding Our Rights

As the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, it is my role to raise awareness of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to provide guidance to government on how to promote and protect these rights.

For me, this role is an opportunity to do all I can to create a national environment ready and capable of transformational change. Where the ground is fertile to secure our rights and grow success for all our people, for generations to come.

At the highest level, sitting atop the myriad of specific issues with which I and my team engage, there are four key inter-related national issues: Constitutional reform, the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples[2], progress towards Closing the Gap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inequality, and the status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in this country, an issue at the forefront of my agenda. I will be launching a national engagement process with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls early next month. The purpose of which is to let them exercise their right to be heard and for us to listen and develop pathways to act on clear priorities to protect and advance their rights.

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

I am dedicated to ensuring people know these mechanisms to open pathways for people to uphold their rights on the ground. Engaging with our women and girls across the nation is a significant part of enabling this to take effect.

Australia has recently been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council[3], and I will be seeking to provide my guidance to the Australian Government to ensure that we, as a nation, are putting our best foot forward domestically throughout our nation’s term in this international leadership role, and beyond.

On 13 September 2017, we commemorated the 10-year anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Australian Government formally adopted the Declaration in 2009[4].

The Declaration was developed by and for Indigenous peoples across the globe and is the most far-reaching, comprehensive instrument concerning Indigenous peoples. The Declaration is underpinned by four guiding principles: self-determination; participation in decision making and free, prior and informed consent; respect for and protection of culture; and non-discrimination and equality.

Bringing full effect to the Declaration has been a challenge for many states around the world, but it is obligatory under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[5] that each nation takes key steps towards the realisation of our human rights.

Meaningful access to basic human rights has an immense impact on outcomes for individuals and communities. It is my great hope and ambition to help make the Declaration a useful tool for our mob, so we know what to expect and demand, and how to negotiate and participate in, equitable partnerships into the future.

Constitutional reform

Asserting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices is an important process of self-determination and recognising our place as the First Australians within this nation.

We have consistently called for greater control over our destinies, for the ability to live freely and equally, and for greater recognition of our rights as the First Peoples of this land.

The Uluru Statement[6] inspired Indigenous people and many other Australians to think big about our sense of Australian nationhood and the potential for Indigenous recognition and inclusion in Australian nation building. It is with great sadness that we have seen a rejection at this stage for a constitutionally-enshrined voice to Parliament. However, we cannot let this dash our hopes. We can and should continue to call for the parliament to work with us. One set back, as great as this may feel, is not the end. There are always new pathways to explore and tread together to get the outcome we want.

The political systems and institutions of this country remain inadequate at providing us with a voice in the matters that affect our lives. We must give meaning to the rhetoric of “doing things with”, “not to” our people.[7] Our people seek an answer to our powerlessness, and we seek a resolution that will deliver substantive equality.

We might disagree on how we get there, as there are a diverse range of views among First Nations peoples about constitutional recognition. I respect that, but we cannot afford to dismiss what our people have been calling for over many generations.

Neither can it be forgotten that we came together at Uluru, at one of the largest and most diverse national gatherings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples I’ve seen in my lifetime. We came together in good faith, we found common ground, and we proposed a way forward.

The Uluru Statement also recognises the need to maintain the long term aspirations of our peoples for a treaty through the creation of a Makarrata or Treaty Commission. The Australian nation should not be unsettled by the term ‘treaty. We know that treaties with Indigenous peoples exist in other countries such as Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

At the state level, it is particularly pleasing to see the Victorian Government’s commitment to a treaty process. This state is leading the way! Furthermore, at the local level, treaty-making is already entrenched in Australian public policy and practice through Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs).

The Uluru Statement asked that the Makarrata Commission supervise not only the process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations, but also the process of truth-telling about our history.

We see institutions mandated to fulfil this role in other countries with similar recent histories to our own, for example, the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in South Africa and Canada, and the Waitangi Tribunal in New Zealand.

Australia has made tentative steps in this direction, with the launch of the Healing Foundation following the Apology[8] in 2008. However, we are yet to see an institution which has as its core goal bringing truth to light and, in-so-doing allowing, not only, for healing amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, but for reconciliation amongst all Australians.

As we look to continue the conversation on constitutional reform, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made it clear that only substance, not symbolism, will suffice.

This issue speaks not only to the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples but to the aspirations of all Australians – about the kind of nation we hope to share together.

Together we must ask: what do we hope Australia to be? What nation do we all want to be a part of and how can we put what we want into action?

Closing the Gap

As many of you will be aware, the Closing the Gap Strategy is currently undergoing a refresh process.[9] The strategy is commendable insofar that it represents a commitment by government to make itself accountable on Indigenous disadvantage. Nonetheless, the lack of progress is deeply concerning. Six out of the seven targets are not currently on track to be met.

Earlier this year the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ms Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, observed the failure of Australian governments to adequately support and meaningfully engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to support our right to self-determination and to ensure our full and effective participation in decision-making.[10]

She went on to explain that she saw this as a key contributing factor undermining governments’ ability to deliver on health, education and employment targets, and to aggravating the escalating incarceration and child removal rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples[11].

It is critical that government takes on this feedback from the Special Rapporteur in its consideration of what must be done to support our rights to self-determination and participation in decision-making. There is no doubt in my mind that very significant changes are required if the next chapter of the Closing the Gap Strategy is to enjoy more success than has the last.

Intergenerational Trauma

All of these interrelated issues that are firmly on my agenda cannot be seen or understood separately from intergenerational trauma. The complex and entrenched harms that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men experience on a daily basis and across generations permeate from a painful past.

Indigenous experience around the world demonstrates very clearly the impact that colonisation and its ongoing legacies have upon our peoples. When we reflect on some of the atrocities that were committed, as does the Black Day, Sun Rises, Blood Runs multimedia display at Melbourne Museum’s Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, it is not difficult to understand how we should see the social tragedy facing Indigenous communities within contemporary Australia as similar to societies recovering from the trauma of war and conflict in other parts of the world.[12] Cycles of intergenerational trauma continue to perpetuate and threaten to undermine our and our children’s futures. We must address the fundamental importance of rebuilding Indigenous communities whose cultural, social and economic fabric have been shattered by colonisation over many generations.

It is well-known that wellness and educational attainment statistics are generally much lower, and that levels of incarceration, suicide and child removal are generally much higher for Indigenous peoples around the world than for other groups within their national societies. This is the case here in Australia, and in Canada, New Zealand, and in the United States. Furthermore, in a number of Indigenous communities within each of these countries, some of these statistics are an order of magnitude higher than the national averages.

Factors contributing to our disadvantage are more than phantoms haunting us, they are very much alive today in the form of everyday and structural racism - the discrimination, marginalisation and substantive inequality faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people due to our ethnicity – the colour of our skin, and the view, implicit or explicit, that somehow our relative disadvantage in society is because of our own failure or weakness as individuals, or a result of practicing our culture.

We cannot shy away from the reality, that in all these ways, racism threatens to keep us in a state of disadvantage where we cannot escape reoccurring traumas. This undermines the realisation of our human rights, and the power of our voices to make decisions which bring about large scale positive impact.

We Must Lead Our Own Emancipation

We must recognise that our very survival in this country is testament to our strength as a people and to our ability to adapt to conditions. It is evidence of the strength of our culture, which, as I have said many times, must be the bedrock of any solutions to the many challenges we face.

We must take the lead in informing processes of structural reform to overcome the legacies of colonisation and reconstruct the fabric of our societies, and of this nation.

Beside us on this journey are governments, our partners, ready to incorporate our need and aspirations into policy and meaningful and targeted investment designed to break cycles of intergenerational trauma. Through the voices of our people, with partners by our side, we can realise our visions for the future, and succeed.

The Power of Stories

As our people have known for millennia, there is no better way to make a statement, to pass on knowledge and responsibility from one generation to the next than to tell a profound story. The stories that I am about to share, as I mentioned earlier, demonstrate greatness in women’s struggles for social justice and the rights of their people. These stories are real and are unfolding in quiet everyday achievements and on public platforms and within international arenas.

From the earliest days of contact, Indigenous women have played a major role in asserting our sovereignty, our rights and our way of life.

All of these stories highlight the elements of Indigenous strength,

  • Language
  • Country
  • Cultural protocols and practices

These elements bring about a resurgence in health and wellbeing and help to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma. It is critical that we protect these elements of strength and introduce them as practices into our everyday lives.

Without these strengths interwoven into our lives we can see a serious breakdown in our familial and parenting responsibilities from one generation to the next. Many of the severe harms experienced in community settings are a manifestation of this cycle of abuse. With a breakdown in our culture and connections to our community and country despair can set in, and an individual and collective sense of hope can be lost. It is the spark of hope that I want to ignite in us all tonight.

When we feel proud of all aspects of who we are, we have hope. What connects the stories that follow is a hope determined through action. By this I mean, when we feel free to express our identity and culture we engender hope in ourselves and others, we believe that what we present to the world, how we engage in it, can change the world for the better.

Our elders, the women I have looked up to in my life, understood, without confusion, their obligation to country, culture and family.

My Story

My mother and my grandmother grew me up. They knew every animal, rock and plant, knew how to find water amongst the tall and endless plains of spikey spinifex and boabs. These lessons took a lifetime to learn and to pass on. My Granny, Casey Ross was also a very important role model to me. She was a very strong cultural woman, a skilled tracker, and a master of six languages. It was her, who took a lead in facilitating communication with the non-Indigenous peoples who had come into the valley. In doing so, she built important relationships and understandings, but she never compromised her own identity.

As I was growing up in Fitzroy Crossing I watched the old women walk tall and with dignity in a dramatically shifting societal landscape. In my lifetime I saw these determined healthy women carry babies in coolamons under one arm while supporting the weeks shopping goods on their heads with the other arm. As a new world marched in they did not relinquish their sense of self, their pride and identity.

When I reflect on the remarkable lives of these women, I have strength to assert my voice and rights to a dynamic cultural identity. It is this strength and pride that I want all of our Indigenous women and girls to feel empowered by, and believe that they can be who they want to be without fear or shame. I want all women to feel this power!

Contact Era Women

With these stories in mind I look out of my window onto Pyrmont Bay in Sydney and I see the shores of Barangaroo.

Barangaroo, like Tarenorerer from Tasmania, were fierce women from centuries ago who stood on the frontier of colonial history and fought so strongly for all of our survival. So many women and many of our Indigenous warriors were persecuted and captured for standing strong, for fighting back and protecting our people. Their influence and tenacity too often condemned and silenced by colonial authority less they spark an insurrection.

These Indigenous women demonstrated remarkable leadership through resistance. I think they, like others, realised much of what was to come and that resistance would ensure the transference of knowledge and the expression of our cultural identity so as to secure our future rights and the health and wellbeing of generations to come.

It is this knowledge that engenders a unity in Indigenous sisterhood across the globe to continue to resist and fight for our rights as a cohesive people intimately connected to our family, kinship system and our land.

Faith Spotted Eagle

I am sure many in this audience have watched with awe the incredible Indigenous activism in halting the progression of the Keystone XL Pipeline in the USA. In response Obama cancelled the pipeline in 2015, only for it to be reinstated by President Trump. Indigenous people across the world felt the pain of those on the ground whose lands were being devastated by the progression of the pipeline.

I was moved by the words of Faith Spotted Eagle, a Sioux woman born in South Dakota, which echo my own connection to country. Faith notes that in her language, there ‘is actually no word for “activism”, it is just [a] responsibility of being a “good relative” to the earth and those dwelling on it’.[13]

Similar to her words, Our Country is where our people need to be able to draw positive emotions, meaning and purpose, self-esteem and resilience. The land provides what we call in my Bunuba language, Ngarranggani.

Ngarranggani lies at the heart of our culture, it is timeless, and it is all past, present and future. It is our dreaming, our creator, our kinship, morality and ethics. We are of the land and to care for and protect the land is to nurture and safeguard our families and our future. This holistic view of people and the environment is something we share with many Indigenous communities around the world.

Jean Puketapu

This intimately entwined relationship of land, language and culture is common to Indigenous people across the world. Our Indigenous languages are a vehicle to transmit these cultural strengths I’ve spoken of, to heal our communities and reconcile our nation.

Women are so often those who nurture this transmission into a sustained existence. Women such as Jean Puketapu, a Māori woman of the Tūhoe iwi. Jean grew up bilingual, speaking her people’s language at home but attended a local school that demanded she speak English.

Jean was determined that future generations would retain their people’s language and that this would not stand in the way of their wider education. She was a key driver behind the establishment of the first kohanga reo (Māori immersion language school). Within a year, as both a teacher and coordinator of this initiative, 300 other language nests had sprung up. The movement has served to keep Māori language alive and growing at a time when many feared it was dying out.[14]

With this story in mind, I was very pleased to hear that the NSW Government has passed new legislation to recognise, revive and protect the languages of the Aboriginal peoples from across that state.[15] It is exciting to see government support for the hard work of Aboriginal community organisations who, like Jean Puketapu, have worked tirelessly to encourage and facilitate learning at the grass roots - within families and communities.

Alkali Lake

While there are great initiatives afoot, and stories of past triumphs and survival that punctuate the present, it is unsurprising that many succumb to the trauma around us. Far too many of our people, particularly our young people, look to drugs and alcohol to numb their pain.

Communities across the world are faced with this same predicament every day. The courageous generational story beginning with Phyllis Chelsea from Alkali Lake, a Shuswap Indian Reserve in British Columbia, Canada, is captured in the film In Honor of All[16].

Like my own community, this community’s story is complex and the harmful overconsumption of alcohol was a symptom of many underlying traumas. Like my own community, it took women to stand up and say we must intervene on a crisis if we are going to have some hope of seeing change.

Phyllis and her husband Andy were heavy drinkers. In June of 1972, Phyllis returned from a weekend of partying to pick up her daughter Ivy from her grandmother’s house only to have Ivy refuse to go home with her until both of her parents stopped drinking.

Phyllis made a commitment then and there, and when she got home she poured all the alcohol in the house down the kitchen sink. Over the course of the decade she worked with her husband and others in the community to dramatically reduce alcohol consumption. By 1979, ninety-eight percent of Alkali Lake residents were abstainers.[17] This turn around was not easily won, and the ongoing challenge in the face of deeply entrenched trauma is to maintain community strength in not using alcohol as a way to silence pain.

Kristy Kennedy

With Phyllis looking her daughter in the eye she saw something that I have been emphasising tonight, that in her daughter’s hope for change, is a better future.

Our children are our future. We know that when a child is given the best start in life, that child succeeds throughout their life.

We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 9.5 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be in out-of-home-care and that these numbers are only expected to continue.[18] We know that the care system is often a fast track for our children and young people to enter into the justice system. We know that on an average night, our children between 10-17 years make up more than half (55%) of all children in juvenile detention.[19] This is a national crisis.

A crisis that the small town of Bourke in NSW is confronting through its successes with Justice Reinvestment as was shown on ABC’s Four Corners in September last year.[20]

Justice Reinvestment strategies involve a reallocation of spending from prisons to prevention, and the effective coordination of intervention programs to reduce offending, re-offending, and the number of people in custody.

As far back as October 2012, the Bourke Aboriginal Community Working Party had been working with Just Reinvest NSW to address the challenges facing the community’s young people and their all-too-common interactions with the criminal justice system.

The Australian Human Rights Commission was also actively involved from early on through the leadership of my predecessor Mick Gooda, and National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, who actively advocated that government should support the Bourke Aboriginal Community Working Party’s vision as articulated in the ‘Maranguka Proposal’.[21]

Kristy Kennedy, a young Aboriginal solicitor of the Barkinji and Narrindgeri Nations, grew up in Bourke and has now moved back to her home town from Sydney to take on the role of Backbone Co-ordinator at Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project. When asked why she came back to Bourke to take the job, Kristy said:

‘I was blown away by what they were trying to achieve. Reducing incarceration rates and working with local people to make effective change through grass roots people. It’s driven by the community. I heard them talking... and I thought... I want to be part of this.’[22]

Conclusion of Stories

All of these stories demonstrate the drive and determination of women to make big sweeping and meaningful change in the lives of their communities and the broader life of society. The stories of all our women from colonisations frontier and the contemporary stories of Faith Spotted Eagle, Jean Puketapu, Phyllis Chelsea and Kristy Kennedy show how one person’s courage and the strength they summon within themselves to change course can go on to become the seed that grows to heal their entire community. This is how communities change the path they are on, and how children are born into better conditions than were their parents.

However, each of these stories is more than an individual acting in isolation. They show that indigenous societal frameworks engender caring and supportive communities that can act together to bring about change.

These stories also carry a message to government and other stakeholders who all want to see change on the ground. They must learn to see themselves as partners and act as partners in responding effectively to the needs and aspirations of women, their families and communities.

Women’s Project

My hope today is that the stories I’ve told become familiar to all people across Australia, but in particular to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls. Imagine if we were actively telling these stories to each other and teaching them to our young women today? Stories that were not just a reflection of history and current struggles, but ones of current strength, resilience and leadership of our women.

When we have positive role models in our lives, who look like us and are proud of their culture, heritage and history, we believe that we have the right to stand up and be heard. We want all our women and girls to grow and develop in life knowing that they can be the best they can be and to see their aspirations reflected in the achievements of other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women.

Women like Marcia Langton, in the 2017 Winter Edition of the Portrait magazine, I offered my comments on her remarkable achievements and her influence on me, she is a “true intellectual powerhouse...she made me believe that voices from the ground could have wide-ranging influences on policy and legislation... [now] in the national justice arena, it is people such as Marcia that give me the strength to believe in my convictions.”[23]

It is with excitement that I think of this hope brought about by the influence of women such as Marcia, in line with the 2018 NAIDOC theme, Because of her, we can!

As I mentioned earlier, next month I will launch a national human rights-based engagement process with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls - which is being supported by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Our aim will be to elevate the voices of our women, and to guide and influence governments to implement policies and practices that foster agency within our communities and provide the conditions for positive change.

A key driver for this project was to acknowledge that it is now over 30 years since the landmark Women’s Business report was published in 1986. Marcia was heavily involved in this report and it is with her and the other women I have mentioned tonight that we wish to uphold and continue their legacy.

The Women’s Business report was conducted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and inquired into ‘the involvement of Aboriginal women in land rights, culture, health, housing, education, employment, legal aid, child welfare (with particular reference to adoption and fostering of Aboriginal children)’.

Amongst other findings, the report clearly documented the desire of Indigenous women to have agency in their own lives.

The Australian nation must invest in a strengths-based approach to Indigenous community rebuilding and recovery, and recognise that that our female leaders are the greatest agents for change and empowerment in this country.

There is much to celebrate when we consider the great work being done by Indigenous women, and by the non-Indigenous women who have made changes within themselves, supported our aspirations and partnered with us in building a better tomorrow. As we begin to unlock our collective potential, I know that there is so much more yet to come.


Thank you all.

[1] Christine McPaul, Quagliotti, Winnifred Evelyn (Narranjeri) (1931-1988), (2012), Australian Dictionary of Biography. At (viewed 8 November 2017).

[2] UN General Assembly, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: resolution / adopted by the General Assembly, 2 October 2007, A/RES/61/295. At (viewed 26 October 2017).

[3] Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia: member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (2018-2020), (16 October 2017), Australian Government. At (viewed 9 November 2017).

[4] UN General Assembly, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: resolution / adopted by the General Assembly, 2 October 2007, A/RES/61/295. At (viewed 26 October 2017).

[5] UN General Assembly, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 16 December 1966, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 993, p. 3. At (viewed 26 October 2017).

[6] Referendum Council 2017, Uluru Statement from the Heart, (26 May 2017), National Convention, Uluru. At (viewed 26 October 2017).

[7] Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull MP, Closing the Gap Statement, (10 February 2016). At (viewed 26 October 2017).

[8] Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, MP, Apology to Australia's Indigenous peoples, Wednesday, February 13, 2008, Australian Government. At (viewed 9 November 2017).

[9] Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Closing The Gap, (2017), Australian Government. At (viewed 9 November 2017).

[10] UN General Assembly, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples on her visit to Australia, 20 March – 3 April, (2017), A/GRC/36/46/Add.2. At (viewed 26 October 2017).

[11] UN General Assembly, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples on her visit to Australia, 20 March – 3 April, (2017), A/GRC/36/46/Add.2. At (viewed 26 October 2017).

[12] Claire Slattery, ‘White-washed' history of Indigenous massacres subject of new Melbourne exhibition (9 November 2017), ABC News (online). At

[13] Faith Spotted Eagle, Native Elder Reflects on Keystone XL, (13 November 2015), Culture Collective. At (viewed 9 November 2017).

[14] Tim Donoghue, Pioneer helped te reo survival, (2 February 2013), The Dominion Post, Stuff (online). At (viewed 9 November 2017).

[15] Bridget Brennan, NSW introduces nation's first laws to recognise and revive Indigenous languages, (11 October 2017), ABC News (online). At (viewed 26 October 2017).

[16] Ron Rosmer, Honor of All Alkai Lake, BC, (24 June 2015), YouTube (online). At (viewed 9 November 2017).

[17] Four Worlds International Institute, Part IV - Case Studies, The Alkali Lake Community Story, (online). At Four Worlds (viewed 9 November 2017).

[18] Australian Institute of Family Studies, Child Family Community Australia, Child protection and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children: CFCA Resource Sheet, (August 2017), Australian Government. At (viewed 9 November 2017).

[19] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Youth detention population in Australia 2016, (13 December 2016), Australian Government. At (viewed 9 November 2017).

[20] Geoff Thompson, Backing Bourke: An outback town's bold experiment to save its young people from a life of crime, (19 September 2017), Four Corners (online). At (viewed 9 November 2017).

[21] Australian Human Rights Commission, Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Limited, Just Reinvest NSW, Justice Reinvestment in Bourke: Briefing Paper, (August 2013). At (viewed 9 November 2017).

[22] Graeme Gibson, Stories of Bourke: Past, present and future, (2-10 September 2016), Festival of a Thousand Stories (online). At (viewed 9 November 2017).

[23] June Oscar, ‘Powerful Indigenous Women’, (2017), 57 Magazine of Australian and International Portraiture, 30, 30

Ms June Oscar AO, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner