President’s comment 8 July 2013

Congratulations, Gandu Jarjum, in NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC Week celebrations began this year on 7 July and run until 14 July. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, and the week is a major event in Australia’s social and cultural calendar.

The QTU has a long, proud and committed history of supporting reconciliation, particularly in promoting full, fair and culturally relevant access to education for all. This year, as part of NAIDOC celebrations, the QTU was recognised by the Queensland Council of Unions for its efforts in the cause of reconciliation with Australia's first people, including contributing to the progression and development of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. The QCU’s award citation commended the work of the QTU’s wholly Indigenous Gandu Jarjum committee, which fosters activism amongst Indigenous teachers and supports and promotes education for Indigenous students.

Three QTU activists were nominated for the The Uncle Bob Anderson Award - Letitia Murgha, Leanne Bell, and Margaret Malezer. The activists recognised in the awards ceremony were Donna Turner (RTBU) and Tommy Sebasio (ETU). Congratulations go to these outstanding union representatives.

NAIDOC-2013-logo-inline350.gifThe theme of the national NAIDOC Week 2013 is “We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963”. The theme celebrates the 50th anniversary of the presentation of two petitions to Federal Parliament that protested the granting of mining rights on excised land, a formative moment in the long struggle for land rights.

That long struggle should remind us all of the importance of acknowledging the traditional owners of the land at all QTU meetings and events. It is a sign of respect that we should all be prepared to offer.

Kevin Bates