AIATSIS Council elections 2014

Monday, 12 May 2014 (All day)

Statement from AIATSIS Principal regarding the recent election for the AIATSIS Council

Dear AIATSIS Members and Councillors,

We have received a number of queries and concerns from members regarding the recent AIATSIS Council election. 

I understand the change in ballot instructions from previous years caused some confusion among voters. During the ballot period, advice was provided to a small number of members who queried the instructions, and additional instructions were provided to all members. Unfortunately, a relatively high number of informal votes still resulted. A number of you have queried the validity of the election outcome under these circumstances.

This care and concern about the process and outcome of the election is an encouraging indication of Members’ interest and investment in AIATSIS. As well as considering these issues closely myself, I sought external legal advice before responding, to ensure I have taken all relevant issues into account. This advice has confirmed that the conduct of the election was consistent with the AIATSIS Act 1989 and the AIATSIS Rules. Further, as the rules indicate that an election for Council members will occur once every three years, it is not open to us to rerun the ballot. Despite the high percentage of informal votes, we are therefore obliged to accept the outcome of the ballot and to proceed on that basis.

For your information, the AEC reviewed the informal votes. These are not comparable with the formal votes for one preferred candidate, and do not necessarily indicate the outcome of the election if the ballot had been structured differently. However, if allocated and also counted, they result in the same four nominees being elected. 

The change in the structure of the ballot from previous elections is regrettable. As the election happens once every three years, this highlights a gap in the AIATSIS rules. To ensure that conduct of the election remains consistent in the future, I will put a proposal to the next AIATSIS Council meeting that the Rules be amended to indicate that voters identify their four preferred candidates on the ballot paper. If adopted, this will provide clarity for all future elections.

I accept the Australian Electoral Commission’s declaration of the election outcome, and look forward to working with the reelected and new Council members.  I thank members for raising your concerns with me. 

Yours sincerely,

Russell Taylor
Principal

Election Outcome

The AIATSIS Council election ballot closed on 17 April 2014, and the votes were counted on 22 April 2014.

Re-elected to the AIATSIS Council are:

  • Professor Mick Dodson,
  • Emeritus Professor Bob Tonkinson
  • Professor John Maynard

Joining AIATSIS Council for the first time is:

Kado Muir is an anthropologist/archaeologist with many years experience working in Aboriginal Heritage, traditional ecological knowledge and native title research. He has formerly been a member of the AIATSIS Research Advisory and has a long association with AIATSIS.

Kado is currently Chair of the Ngalia Foundation which manages a number of community based research projects, including the Goldfields Aboriginal Languages Project, Goldfields Indigenous Heritage project and Traditional ecological knowledge projects through the Walkatjurra Rangers.

Kado operates a number of businesses including an Aboriginal tour business, a heritage research and community development consultancy business. He is a long time activist, currently engaged in campaigns to stop uranium mining and promote alternative community based enterprises. He will bring to AIATSIS a strong community-based Indigenous research perspective and is interested in private sector funding for public collections and research.

These new terms will commence on 17 May 2014 for 3 years.

We thank Professor Sandy Toussaint for her work as a member of the Council over the past three years.

Download the Australian Electoral Commission Declaration here.

2014 Council elections

Elections are conducted in accordance with Section 12(l) of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Act l989, which states:

There shall be a Council of the Institute consisting of the following members:

  1. 4 persons elected by the members of the Institute in accordance with the Institute rules, being persons who are themselves members of the Institute;
  2. one person appointed by the Minister, being a person who is a Torres Strait Islander; 
  3. 4 other persons appointed by the Minister, being persons who are Aboriginal persons or Torres Strait Islanders.

The current terms of the four elected members of the Council will expire on 16 May 2014. These members are Professor Mick Dodson, Professor John Maynard, Emeritus Professor Bob Tonkinson and Professor Sandy Toussaint.

Who can vote?

Only members of AIATSIS can vote in the Council elections.

I am an AIATSIS member – how can I vote?

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is conducting the voting process, if you have not received a voting pack via post or email please contact the Membership Officer.

Council election timeline

Nomination period (3 February to 7 March 2014)

  • 3 February – Nominations invited from membership
  • 7 March – Nominations close

Ballot period (17 March to 17 April 2014)

  • 17 March – Ballot forms sent to AIATSIS members
  • 17 April – Election closes

Vote counting

  • 22 April – Vote counting
  • 2 May – Council Members appointed

Read more about the AIATSIS rules, including the rules relating the conduct of the election.

For further information please contact the Membership Officer.

Candidates

The order of candidates is from a ballot draw conducted at 9:30am on Wednesday 12 March 2014 by returning officer Mario Chindamo from the AEC using double randomisation.

Kado Muir

Kado Muir

Kado Muir is an anthropologist/archaeologist with many years experience working in Aboriginal Heritage, traditional ecological knowledge and native title research. He has formerly been a member of the AIATSIS Research Advisory and has a long association with AIATSIS.

Kado is currently Chair of the Ngalia Foundation which manages a number of community based research projects, including the Goldfields Aboriginal Languages Project, Goldfields Indigenous Heritage project and Traditional ecological knowledge projects through the Walkatjurra Rangers.

Kado operates a number of businesses including an Aboriginal tour business, a heritage research and community development consultancy business. He is a long time activist, currently engaged in campaigns to stop uranium mining and promote alternative community based enterprises. He will bring to AIATSIS a strong community-based Indigenous research perspective and is interested in private sector funding for public collections and research.

Emeritus Professor Bob Tonkinson

Emeritus Professor Bob Tonkinson

Bob Tonkinson has enjoyed a long and productive association with the Institute, since its early days as AIAS. In 1974, when he was still teaching at the University of Oregon, he received a small grant from the Institute, and he and his wife, fellow anthropologist Myrna, spent almost a year doing fieldwork among the Western Desert people who now identify themselves as Mardu.

Back in 1963, as a graduate student at UWA under Ronald Berndt, a founding figure at AIAS, Bob began research among the Mardu then living at Jigalong Mission. He has written extensively about their society, past and present, and was lead author of the Connection Report (2001) for the Mardu Native Title claim. Since 1966, Bob has also done research with Ambrymese people in Vanuatu, and has long been active in the Pacific Studies field.

He is a past Chair and Life Member of the West Australian Anthropology and Sociology Society, the Australian Anthropological Society, and the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania.  At AIATSIS, Bob has served on many committees since the 1980s, both when he taught in the Faculties at ANU and after his move to Perth to take the Chair in Anthropology at UWA.

Sandy Toussaint

Professor Sandy Toussaint

AIATSIS has played an intrinsic part in many Indigenous and non-Indigenous people’s lives.  In my case the relationship began in the 1990s when I became the Australian Trustee of the 1930s Kaberry Kimberley Collection.  Working with Aboriginal families and communities for three decades, mostly in the Kimberley but also in WA’s southwest, I have also worked on national and regional inquiries, such as the Aboriginal Land Inquiry, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths, and Aboriginal Education, and with organizations such as the Kimberley Language Resource Centre and the ALS.

I have published widely on matters relating to Aboriginal cultural life, health, legal anthropology, collaborative practice and ethics, native title, cross-disciplinary inquiry, and the social life of water. Kimberley Stories, and a visual story-telling text, co-authored with Annette Puruta Kogolo and Marminjiya Nuggett, titled Ngurntakura Wangki (also the name of an accompanying exhibition of paintings) are among recent publications. Dedicated to the art and practice of collaboration, I am currently Associate Director of the Berndt Museum at UWA, where I am also an Adjunct Professor of Social and Environmental Inquiry. I felt honoured in 2011 to be elected a Councillor and would like to continue for one more term.

Professor Mick Dodson AM

Professor Mick Dodson AM

One of Australia's most prominent Indigenous leaders, Professor Mick Dodson needs little introduction. A trained lawyer with an abiding interest in social justice and human rights in general, Mick was a Commissioner with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission for several years, and also has extensive international experience in the human rights field.

Besides his work As Professor and Head of ANU's Indigenous Studies centre, Mick has been AIATSIS Council Chair, working closely with Principal Russ Taylor and senior staff. He has contributed significantly to this unique institution's growing visibility in the wider Australian community. Having built up a huge network of connections in Indigenous circles worldwide, Mick continues to facilitate the development of mutually beneficial links between AIATSIS and other national and international Indigenous organisations.

Possessing a great capacity for teamwork, and in the roles of model and mentor, he has been inspirational to his people. As a fellow Councillor, I can attest that Mick commands the universal respect of management and staff. It goes without saying that he is deeply committed to the exercise of equal opportunity principles and policies, no matter what the institutional context. He is also a trained and skilled mediator.

Professor John Maynard

Professor John Maynard

Professor John Maynard is known internationally for his research in Indigenous history and has published many important articles and books in the field. John has further experience in the areas of Indigenous health and education. He has contributed to numerous documentaries, radio programs, and exhibitions concerning Aboriginal issues and Aboriginal history. He has held a number of important honours and awards over the years, including the Stanner Fellow, the NSW Premier’s Indigenous History Fellow, an ARC Indigenous Research Fellow and an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow, and the University of Newcastle Researcher of the Year 2008 and 2012. John has been a visiting scholar with ANU, Flinders, and Boston University in the USA.

A Worimi man from Port Stephens on the north coast of NSW, John has years of experience working with Aboriginal communities in urban, rural and remote Australia, and has attained a high degree of respect among Aboriginal people from all walks of life. John has been a Council member for the past eight years and is the current Deputy Chairperson. He is strongly committed to AIATSIS, and to the development of high-quality Indigenous research practices and output that directly benefit Aboriginal people and communities.

Media enquiries

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Last reviewed: 18 Mar 2019