AIATSIS Council election

Please read the 2017 Election Notice.

Four Councillors are elected from and by the AIATSIS membership: at least two Aboriginal/ Torres Strait Islanders and two females are required.

Elected Council Members’ terms are due to expire on 16 May 2017 (Chair Professor Mick Dodson, Deputy Chair Emeritus Professor Bob Tonkinson, Council member Adjunct Professor Sandy Toussaint and Council Member Professor John Maynard).

The nomination period will begin 20 February 2017. Australian Election Company, an independent election service provider, has been appointed by AIATSIS to conduct the election.

Copies of the 2017 Election Notice and Nomination Certificate have been emailed to members.

Please contact the Executive officer if you did not receive the documents.

P: 02 6261 4236

Our organisation is governed by a Council of nine members. Four are elected by AIATSIS members, while five are appointed by our Minister and must be Aboriginal persons or Torres Strait Islanders.

The Council is responsible for setting our policies and ensuring we perform properly and efficiently across all of our functions.

The AIATSIS Council Charter outlines Council’s responsibilities.

Professor Mick Dodson

Professor Michael (Mick) Dodson, AM (Chairperson)

Professor Michael (Mick) Dodson AM (Chairperson) is a member of the Yawuru peoples the traditional Aboriginal owners of land and waters in the Broome area of the southern Kimberley region of Western Australia. He is currently Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at the Australian National University (ANU). He is a professor of law at the ANU College of Law. He is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. He was Australia’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, and he served as Commissioner from April 1993 to January 1998. Professor Dodson was Australian of the Year in 2009.


Emeritus Professor Bob Tonkinson

Emeritus Professor Bob Tonkinson (Deputy Chairperson)

Emeritus Professor Bob Tonkinson (Deputy Chairperson) took his Honours and Masters degrees in social anthropology at the University of Western Australia (UWA), where he later held the Chair in Anthropology (from 1984 until his retirement in 2004). He obtained his doctorate in anthropology at the University of British Columbia (1972), and taught at the University of Oregon between 1968 and 1980) and the ANU (1980–84) before returning to Western Australia. From the 1960s, he conducted research with Western Desert Martu people and on the islands of Ambrym and Efate in Vanuatu. He was active in land claim research on behalf of the Martu, who gained title to the bulk of their traditional homelands in 2002.


Donisha Duff

Ms Donisha Duff

Donisha Duff is of Torres Strait Islander descent from Moa and Badu Islands and the Yadhaigana and Wuthathi people (Cape York).

Donisha was awarded a Roberta Sykes Fellowship to Harvard University and she is currently a Board Trustee of the Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation. She is a Board member of the Stars Foundation to empower the educational development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women and is also appointed to the Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry (ANZDATA) Indigenous Working Group.

Donisha completed a Master of Business Administration (ANU) and is National NAIDOC Scholar of the Year 2014.


Professor John Maynard

Professor John Maynard

Professor John Maynard is a Worimi man from the Port Stephens region of New South Wales (NSW). He is currently a Director of the Wollotuka Institute and Chair of Aboriginal History at the University of Newcastle. He obtained his doctorate in 2003, examining the rise of early Aboriginal political activism.

Professor Maynard was a member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Historical Association, the NSW History Council and the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council and has worked with and within many Aboriginal communities, urban, rural and remote. He is the author of eight books, including Aboriginal Stars of the Turf, Fight for Liberty and Freedom and The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe.


Rachel Perkins

Ms Rachel Perkins

Director, Blackfella Films P/L, Sydney, NSW (Photo by Leon Mead)

Rachel Perkins’ is a member of the Arrernte nation whose lands surround Alice Springs and the Kalkadoon people from the MT Isa region.

Rachel has served on a number of federal agencies including Screen Australia, the Australian Film Commission, and the Australian Film Television and Radio School. She was a founding board member of NITV, which she was instrumental in establishing. She has also served on the boards of various Aboriginal organisations and industry associations, including Bangarra Dance Theatre. She currently serves on the board of the Australian Heritage Commission.

Her company Blackfella Films, established in 1993, is a leader in the creation of Indigenous content, including the series First Contact, Redfern Now, First Australians, Ready For This and its latest production DNA Nation. Her work as director includes documentaries such as Freedom Ride and the more recent Black Panther Women as well as movies Bran Nue Dae, One Night the Moon, Mabo and the upcoming film Jasper Jones.

She also works in the cultural sector, directing festivals, such as the Yeperenye Festival for the Centenary of Federation. She researched and published The Black Book, a director of Indigenous people working in the cultural sector. In more recent times she has focussed on the development of Arrernte culture, the first project being an Arrernte Women’s Camp, which recorded and revived the repertoire of Arrernte women’s traditional musical heritage.


cindy shannon

Professor Cindy Shannon

Professor Cindy Shannon is a descendent of the Ngugi people from Moreton Bay. In 2011 Cindy was appointed as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Education) at The University of Queensland and is also currently the Director of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, which was established in late 2014.

Cindy was previously the Director of the Centre for Indigenous Health at The University of Queensland and guided the development and implementation of Australia’s first degree level program that specifically targeted Aboriginal health workers. Professor Shannon has contributed to Indigenous health policy development and implementation nationally and undertaken a number of independent primary health care service reviews, including a major report for the 2003 interdepartmental review of primary health care service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Cindy was a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council, and chaired its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Advisory Committee from 2005-2012. She is currently also:

  • Fellow of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Member, Health and Hospital Fund Advisory Board
  • Chair of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foundation
  • Member, Greater Brisbane Metro South Medicare Local Board
  • Board member, Lives Lived Well


jodie sizer

Ms Jodie Sizer

Ms Jodie Sizer is a Djap Wurrung/Gunditjmara woman, and part of the Framlingham Community of South West Victoria. Jodie was previously the Principal Consultant and Director of Ingenuity Australia, a consulting group that provides leadership, development and project management skills to Indigenous communities.

Jodie was named as Victorian Aboriginal Young Achiever in 2000, when she was working as an auditor at a big four accounting firm, and has maintained a prominent role in the Indigenous space and across broader society.

Jodie has also worked in Indigenous organisations and government. She was an ATSIC Regional Councillor, a finalist in the Telstra Business Women of the Year award, listed in the Australian Women's Who's Who publication, inducted on the Victorian Women's Honour roll, recipient of the Prime Ministers Centenary medal and listed as one of the Australian Financial Review's 100 Women of Influence.


Geoffrey Winters

Geoffrey Winters

Geoffrey Winters is a descendant of the Kamilaroi nation from Walgett in north-west New South Wales.  He is currently an associate in Sydney at international law firm Clyde & Co LLP. He was judicial associate to the Hon Justice Basten of the NSW Court of Appeal and was judicial associate to the Hon Justice Wright of the NSW Supreme Court.

Geoffrey also studied Arts completing Honours in Political Economy and Laws at the University of Sydney. He was President of the Australian Law Students' Association.


Professor Sandy Toussaint

Professor Sandy Toussaint

Professor Sandy Toussaint (PhD, MA) is an anthropologist with an extensive track record in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. A former Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford University, and Senior Researcher on the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Commission, Professor Toussaint was also senior researcher on the WA Aboriginal Land Inquiry, and Aboriginal Education. The author and/or editor of five books and many book chapters, journal articles and commentary, she is on the Australian advisory of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register (Australasia and the Pacific), a Trustee of the Kaberry Collection at AIATSIS, former director of the Berndt Museum at UWA, and coordinator/curator of at least five Indigenous art exhibitions.

A successful PhD thesis supervisor, Professor Toussaint also lectured in Anthropology / Sociology – in particular Applied and Legal Anthropology, Contemporary Social Thought, and Honours – at The University of Western Australia for 20 years. She is currently an Adjunct/Honorary Professor at UWA and the University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA Fremantle, and Nulungu Research Centre in Broome) and working on three interrelated projects (cultural heritage, documentary film, health and medicine) with Indigenous and academic organisations.