The Hon Linda Burney MP
Minister for Indigenous Australians
Linda Burney was elected federal member for Barton in 2016, following a 13 year career in the NSW Parliament as Member for Canterbury. During her state political career she served as minister in a number of senior portfolios including as Minister for Community Services and later as Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
As a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation, Linda was the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the NSW Parliament and the first Aboriginal woman to serve in the Australian House of Representatives. Linda’s commitment to Indigenous issues spans more than 30 years.
Nini Mills - Mabo lecture
CEO, Nyamba Buru Yawuru Ltd
Nini Mills is a Yawuru and Bunuba woman from the West Kimberley region of Western Australia. She is a proud Aboriginal woman, mother, leader, CEO, author, public speaker and mentor.
Nini is a strong advocate for Indigenous empowerment and is passionate about smashing through glass ceilings whilst also creating opportunities for other Indigenous people to develop their capacity so that they too can lead the way for future generations.
She is also passionate about supporting the rights and interests of Aboriginal people and as such she has always actively pursued a career path that enables her to make a positive difference to the lives of Indigenous people and communities. In a personal capacity she is deeply ingrained in her community and culture having been born and raised on Yawuru country.
CEO, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Craig Ritchie is a Dhunghutti man and the Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Craig’s career spans senior roles in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and higher education, university access and participation for people from low-SES backgrounds and international student mobility.
Craig was founding Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in the ACT Government. Craig’s community sector work includes serving as CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), and Chair of the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services.
Film director, writer and Managing Director, Blackfella Films
Rachel Perkins is a distinguished filmmaker of Arrernte/Kalkadoon heritage. In 1992 she founded the Indigenous production company Blackfella Films and she has contributed extensively to the development of Indigenous filmmakers in Australia and, more broadly, to the Australian film and television industry. Her television work includes Redfern Now, Total Control, Mystery Road and the documentary series First Australians. Her movies are Jasper Jones, Brane Nue Dae and One Night the Moon.
Ms Perkins recently led the development of the national vision for Indigenous heritage (Dhawura Ngilan) and is currently co-chairing the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance’s joint working group with the commonwealth, on national Indigenous heritage legislative reform. She has served on numerous NGO and federal agency boards including Screen Australia, the Australian Film Television and Radio School, AIATSIS, the Australian Heritage Council and Jawun, and she was a founding board member of the National Indigenous Television Service.
CEO, Queensland South Native Title Services
Kevin holds traditional connections to Ugar (Stephen Island) and Erub (Darnley Island) in the Torres Strait, and has over 28 years of professional experience in Indigenous affairs. He has held senior positions with the National Secretariat of Torres Strait Islander Organisations, the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service, the National Native Title Tribunal, Aboriginal Hostels Limited and the National Native Title Council. Kevin has filled the role of Chief Executive Officer of QSNTS since 2008. He holds qualifications in both law and business management from the University of Queensland, and was admitted as a solicitor in 1994.
June Oscar AO
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
June Oscar AO is a proud Bunuba woman from the remote town of Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. She is a strong advocate for Indigenous Australian languages, social justice, women’s issues, and has worked tirelessly to reduce Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
June has held a raft of influential positions including Deputy Director of the Kimberley Land Council, chair of the Kimberley Language Resource Centre and the Kimberley Interpreting Service and Chief Investigator with WA’s Lililwan Project addressing FASD.
June began her five-year term as Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner on 3 April 2017.
Bringing treaty to the national stage
In 2017, under the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from across Australia called for ‘a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia’ and a brighter future for First Nations based on the principles of justice and self-determination. A Makarrata Commission, proposed in the Uluru Statement, would ‘supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.’ While little progress has been made towards that vision at the national level, treaty processes at the State and Territory levels are advancing. This year’s federal election represents an important turning point.
The National Native Title Council (NNTC) and ANTaR will co-host a panel that will explore lessons learnt from State and Territory processes, including in Victoria, the Northern Territory (NT) and Queensland; and analyse, through a post-election lens, next steps for treaty at the national level, including specific pathways forward for either a returned Coalition or new Labor government.
Chair - Eddie Cubillo
Associate Dean & Senior Research Fellow (Indigenous Programs) - The University of Melbourne
Eddie is an Aboriginal man with strong family links in both the urban and rural areas throughout the NT. He is a descendant of the Larrakia, Wadjigan and Central Arrente peoples. He obtained a Bachelor of Laws Degree and is admitted to the Supreme Court of the NT.
CEO, National Native Title Council and First People’s Assembly of Victoria
Jamie is a Gundjitmara Djabwurrung man and CEO of the NNTC. He is an elected representative on the historic First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, representing the Eastern Maar People, tasked with negotiating a Treaty framework with the Victoria Government.
Tony McAvoy SC
Acting Northern Territory Treaty Commissioner
Tony is a Wirdi man from the central Queensland area around Clermont and he is also a native title holder in his grandmother’s country around Thargomindah in southwest Queensland. He is a barrister and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2015. From 2011 and 2013, Tony was an Acting Part-Time Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court. He is the Acting NT Treaty Commissioner from December 2021 to June 2022.
Dr Josephine Bourne
Researcher, School of Political Science & International Studies, University of Queensland
Josephine is a mainland Torres Strait Islander. She is a Gumulgal woman of Mabuiag Island through her father's ancestral line with links to Moa Island.
On her mother’s line Josephine's ancestry links to Badu, Mer and Dawar Islands. As a member of the Queensland Treaty Advancement Committee, Josephine provided advice on the next steps towards building a framework to support treaty-making between First Nations’ groups and the State.
Featured breakout sessions
The Yoorrook Justice Commission, established in May 2021, is Australia’s first truth-telling body and first Indigenous led Royal Commission. Independent of Government, Yoorrook is mandated to: establish an official record and a shared understanding of the systemic injustices experienced by First Peoples in Victoria since colonisation; the diversity, strength and resilience of First Peoples' cultures; make recommendations for healing, system reform and practical changes to laws, policy and education, as well as to matters to be included in future treaties.
In this session, the Yoorrook Commissioners detail the work undertaken to date including how the Commission has laid the foundations for trust and cultural legitimacy among First Peoples, honoured First People’s Elders by hearing their experiences first, adopted an Indigenous methodology for all of its work and operationalised Indigenous Data Sovereignty principles within the Commission’s practices and records systems.
The Commissioners will also speak to the outcomes from the first rounds of public hearings, the program of on-Country engagement and the Yoorrook interim report due in June 2022.
Chair: Professor Eleanor Bourke is a Wergaia/Wamba Wamba Elder who has held executive positions in academia, community, state and federal government agencies.
Deputy Chair: Ms Sue-Anne Hunter is a Wurundjeri and Ngurai illum Wurrung woman and former National Sector Development Manager for SNAICC – National Voice for our Children.
Distinguished Professor Maggie Walter is a Palawa woman and Distinguished Professor Emerita of Sociology at the University of Tasmania.
Professor the Honourable Kevin Bell AM QC is a non-Aboriginal Victorian and former Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria for 15 years.