Thursday, 28 June 2018
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, NAIDOC Week
Earlier this year the House heard from the Prime Minister about the important work being done by AIATSIS, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. That was one of many commendations that prompted me to visit AIATSIS here in Canberra and I visited, along with the member for Indi, a few weeks back.
AIATSIS is a true national treasure, and we saw the good work that they are doing to preserve and promote the unique collections they hold of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and art, including audio recordings and videos of dances, song and even records of languages that are now sadly lost to us.
The member for Indi and I were able to congratulate the dedicated team at AIATSIS, and we came away wanting to do more to raise awareness of the collections and the great work being done there to help the study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and culture. I'm pleased to inform members that we intend to establish a parliamentary friendship group to foster more collaboration between parliamentarians and AIATSIS, and organise for more members and senators to visit and raise awareness of the priceless collection of cultural and resource materials that they hold and care for.
Through a parliamentary friendship group, we'll be able to involve representatives and stakeholders to advance this discussion around studying and celebrating these languages and cultures, because they are amongst the oldest continuing cultures on our planet—that's a fact of which Australians should be very, very proud. I'm sure we will be joined enthusiastically by the member for Dunkley, who once worked for AIATSIS, and I'm confident we'll also be joined by the member for Sturt, who was very energetic about AIATSIS in his previous portfolio when he was able to secure its future through additional funding and support.
Today in the parliament there's an exhibition celebrating the work of AIATSIS. It's in the parliamentary exhibition area. I encourage all members to visit the exhibition, because it celebrates National Reconciliation Week in the lead-up to NAIDOC Week. It will be NAIDOC Week in just two short weeks. It's an event that's obviously celebrated every July, and it's a time for all Australians to come together and celebrate the First Australians and the contribution they make to our country.
There will be numerous events around the country and, in Brisbane, where the traditional owners are the Turubul and Yugara people, I will be attending the opening of the International Education Services Indigenous sculpture exhibition at Spring Hill. There'll be the unveiling of the new formal sculpture completed by Lockhart River Indigenous artist Fiona Omeenyo. This will form the centrepiece of the school's campus following a very proud tradition at IES in making Indigenous art a focus of its campus environment and curriculum. Again, I encourage all members to consider signing up to the parliamentary friends of AIATSIS.