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Monday, 26 November 2018
Page: 11469


Mr EVANS (Brisbane) (11:23): I move:

That this House:

(1) recognises that the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS):

(a) is a cultural institution of international renown; and

(b) has been central to the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies;

(2) notes that on Monday, 15 October 2018 AIATSIS unveiled its Strategic Plan 2018-2023 in Parliament House;

(3) congratulates the dedicated team at AIATSIS for its ambitious strategic plan;

(4) commends the work of AIATSIS in helping to forge a national identity that embraces, celebrates and preserves the unique cultures of Australia's First Peoples; and

(5) encourages honourable Members to raise public awareness of the institute's collections and the great work being done by AIATSIS to assist and promote the study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and culture

I've been here before to talk about the amazing and important work that is being done by AIATSIS, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. AIATSIS has been absolutely central to the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies as a distinctive, unique and substantial field of study here in Australia. This work traverses many disciplines, including anthropology, education, art, health, linguistics—you name it. Through its work, AIATSIS has truly become a cultural institution of international renown, so it deserves to be better known here and for there to be better awareness of it amongst as many mainstream Australians as possible. In my work with AIATSIS, I have seen the intimate knowledge that First Australians have of these lands that connect all Australians to what are the oldest continuing cultures on the planet.

This year, working together with the member for Indi and other colleagues, we've established a parliamentary friendship group to foster better collaboration and communication between AIATSIS and this parliament. Our hope is that, through this friendship group, we can raise greater awareness of the priceless collection of cultural and resource materials that are cared for by AIATSIS, and celebrate the dynamic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The materials of AIATSIS are quite critical to recognising the immense knowledge and the diversity contained in Australian Indigenous languages and culture. Last month, AIATSIS came here to Parliament House to unveil their strategic plan for 2018 to 2023, and I was pleased to attend the launch event. It was really fitting, actually, given that one of their major focuses going forward is building engagement with governments and with a broader range of people right around our community. The member for Indi was at the launch; I'm pleased to see here in the chamber the member for Groom, who also attended the launch; and I'm also pleased to see the member for Dunkley here, given that he once worked at AIATSIS, some years ago.

Underpinning AIATSIS's strategic plan is a determination to be part of helping all Australians re-imagine what it means to be Australian, and to forge a national identity that embraces and celebrates the unique cultures of Australia's First Peoples. The vision of AIATSIS is a world in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's knowledge and cultures are recognised, respected, celebrated and valued. As the strategic plan highlights, AIATSIS occupies an incredibly important place in this capital and in our nation. It's a unique institution that works at the intersection between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, governments, the academy, and the cultural sector, along with the Australian and international publics.

AIATSIS is the only national institution with an exclusive focus on the stories of 65,000 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The four priorities set out in its strategic plan are discovery, transformation, resurgence and extending its reach. Each of these priorities centres on the opportunities and possibilities of this time in the institute's history, as we are approaching AIATSIS's 60th birthday in the year 2024. Their strategic plan also sets out the underpinning commitments that define the institute and characterise its long-term approach to its work. Those commitments include AIATSIS's technical expertise and capability being sustained for national and regional impact; AIATSIS being characterised by an Indigenous voice in all that it does; AIATSIS being a financially sustainable organisation; and AIATSIS operating cohesively as a single entity, embodying the concept of yindyamarra—that's a Wiradjuri word meaning honour and respect; more broadly, it implies thoughtfulness, graciousness and kindness. The commitments also include AIATSIS being positioned to influence across a range of sectors, having an innovative and flexible institution, and also, as I mentioned earlier, being proactively engaged and being an outward-looking institution.

Since AIATSIS relocated to the Acton Peninsula here in Canberra in 2001, it's now in a prominent location. This has created a real opportunity to showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the richness of the collections of AIATSIS in a manner never before possible. I commend the AIATSIS strategic plan 2018-2023 to the parliament.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Laundy ): Is the motion seconded?

Mr Crewther: I second that motion, and reserve my right to speak.