Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from Queensland head to Straight Talk

Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women head to Straight Talk

Nineteen strong, proud and purposeful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from Queensland will head to Canberra later this month to share their stories and sit down with women from all sides of politics at Oxfam Australia’s Straight Talk National Summit.

Held from Sunday 26 November to Thursday 29 November, the 2018 summit will see more than 70 women from around the country visit Canberra to learn about the political process and build on their skills to creative positive change in their communities.

Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Helen Szoke said the annual summit was always more than the sum of its parts for its many attendees, facilitators, guest speakers and trailblazers.

“This November, dozens of incredible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from across the country will again gather in our nation’s capital,” Dr Szoke said.

“Not only will they get to sit down with Parliamentarians, establish ongoing relationships and develop more tools to engage with the political system, chances are the women will walk away with something far more powerful – a greater voice in the decisions that affect their lives.”

The women will attend the summit’s official opening ceremony at Parliament House, to be co-hosted by Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, Labor Senator and Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong and Greens Senator and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander spokeswoman Rachel Siewart.

They will also take part in small group meetings with politicians at Parliament House, attend Question Time, take part in a Senate role play and have the chance to hear from MP Linda Burney, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Senator Patrick Dodson and MP Ken Wyatt.

This year, participants will hear from Straight Talk trailblazers such as Karen Driver, the inaugural Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence for Native American Affairs at the College of St Scholastica in Minnesota, who was an appointee of President Barack Obama as the Specialist Assistant to the President for Native American Affairs.

Birri Gubba woman and Townsville resident Dorothy Smith said she had seized the opportunuity to take part in the summit.

“Being at the summit will empower me to go, so you know what, let’s empower each other, let’s lift each other up and not judge each other, this will work if we give it a go,” Ms Smith said.

Ms Smith, who is passionate about sports and being physically active, took up the touch football sport Oztag when she lived in Brisbane a while back, and now represents the Indigenous Australia and Australian national teams.

“Staying fit and healthy is something I really want to make normal within our community,” she said. “Being physically fit makes you be able to relate better.

“Hopefully, Straight Talk will spark some new ideas. I’m always trying to be the best I can, trying to give 100 per cent to everything. Taking that knowledge, if I can do it, anyone can.”

/Public Release.