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The 2021 Russell Taylor Oration

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This event has now concluded. Watch a video of the event below.

First Nations cultural values inspiring a more enriched public purpose sector

Josh Smith (CEO Yoo-rrook Truth and Justice Commission) reflects on unsung First Nations public servants whose work has inspired a new generation of First Nations leadership – a leadership that is grounded in strong cultural values, community-minded approaches, and effective activism.

The Russell Taylor Oration is an annual event that celebrates the achievements and contributions of prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the public service and aims to inspire the next generation of First Nations talent in the public sector.

Josh Smith

Josh Smith is a Dunghutti man from the Macleay Valley and Coast in NSW and is currently the CEO of Yoo-rrook Justice Commission, the nation's first Aboriginal Truth and Justice Commission. 

After practising law as a solicitor for the NSW Crown Solicitors Office and at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, Josh has held various executive positions within the Victorian public service across Aboriginal affairs, family violence, health and human services portfolios. 

As the former head of Aboriginal Victoria, Josh played a leading role in the development and passing of Victoria's treaty legislation and process and has led the implementation of the Aboriginal Justice Agreement as Deputy Secretary for Aboriginal Justice. Josh is a passionate community member and has advocated for better outcomes for First Nations peoples through policy development and enhanced Aboriginal self-determination.

About the Russell Taylor Oration

The Russell Taylor Oration celebrates the achievements and contributions of senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in the public service. Established in celebration of the service of former AIATSIS CEO Russell Taylor AM, the oration aims to inspire the next wave of leaders.

Mr Taylor retired as the CEO of AIATSIS in December 2016 and was at the time one of the most senior Indigenous Commonwealth Public Servants. He spent over 20 years in various public sector Senior Executive Service positions.

The Oration acknowledges Russell’s leadership legacy, his service and dedication to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Australian nation, and his contribution to the Commonwealth Australian Public Service.

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