Naidoc Week

7th November 2018

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. K.J. Maher: 

That this council— 

1. Acknowledges the SA NAIDOC Week committee; 

2. Acknowledges the theme of NAIDOC Week 2018 ‘Because of Her, We Can!’; and 

3. Pays tribute to the many South Australian Aboriginal women who have contributed so much to our state. 

(Continued from 1 August 2018.) 

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (17:28): I acknowledge the council putting this matter on motion earlier in the day. I am pleased to briefly support this motion by the Hon. Mr Maher and to also associate myself with the remarks made some weeks ago by the Leader of the Government in this place in relation to the motion. 

As the chair of the Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee, I was privileged to be invited to and attend four of the significant NAIDOC Week events this year. They included the NAIDOC SA Awards ceremony and morning tea on 9 July at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, the Lord Mayor’s NAIDOC morning tea on 11 July at the Adelaide Town Hall, and also the Premier’s NAIDOC Awards ceremony at Ayers House on 12 July. Notably, the Premier spoke at those awards. He had only got off a plane from overseas about 45 minutes before that event took place but was very pleased to be there and to speak to the large number of people who were at that event and make those awards. 

Also, on Saturday 14 July, I was pleased to be with a number of colleagues at the NAIDOC Ball. The Leader of the Opposition was there at that event, as he was at some of the other ones that I have mentioned. I think we can say that there was good cross-party support for NAIDOC Week events that were held in other places, as well as the ones that I have mentioned. 

NAIDOC Week is held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities but by Australians from all walks of life, and I think other members who attended some of those events would attest to that. I think there is a broad interest in those events, and I welcome that. 

The word NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. I think many of us are probably much more comfortable saying ‘NAIDOC’ than that, but that is what it comes from. It took me a while to find that out, because we all know it as NAIDOC. That is what it actually stands for, but I think NAIDOC has become such an identifiable brand around Australia and it is celebrated very well. 

The honourable member’s motion centred very much around the theme of NAIDOC week, ‘Because of her, we can!’, the honouring of Aboriginal women. The honourable member spoke emotionally about his own mother and about other significant Aboriginal women he has known. I think I have had the pleasure of meeting significant Aboriginal women over the period of my time in this parliament, before that, but also more importantly in the recent months since I have had the privilege of becoming the chair of the Aboriginal Lands Committee. 

I once again commend the honourable member for bringing the motion to the parliament, particularly that theme in relation to significant Aboriginal women leaders and, as I said earlier, his own reference to the work of his late mother. I think that was something that we all in this chamber recognised. With those words, I commend the motion to the chamber.