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Koori Mail
Our national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander newspaper

The Voice of Indigenous Australia
Danny Eastwood’s view.

Virus fallout spreads

WITH the World Health Organisation having declared COVID-19 a pandemic, Australian states and territories were battling to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

Pat Turner, chief executive of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation said governments needed to make urgent arrangements to protect Aboriginal people in remote areas who are highly vulnerable to the virus, including considering using the army.

“State and territory governments need to do everything they can to stop this getting into our communities,” she said. “If this gets into any remote community, there will be a high rate of deaths. Our communities will be devastated, because of the already low levels of health.”

On Sunday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a “comprehensive shutdown” of non-essential services as the number of coronavirus cases in the state rose past 500. As of today, Wednesday, the cases in NSW had exceeded 1000 and the national toll exceeded 2200.

The NSW parliament on Tuesday night passed legislation to help tackle the spread of infection.

Under the bill, state police will be able to arrest people reasonably suspected of breaching COVID-19 public health orders and return them home or to a place of detention.

The Corrective Services commissioner could grant conditional parole to certain offenders before their non-parole period if the pandemic makes it necessary.

Pubs, cinemas, gyms and churches are closed across the nation with beauticians, open house inspections and auctions to shut down from midnight on Wednesday in a bid to slow the spread.

For the latest advice, information and resources, go to www.health.gov.au

Call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor or Aboriginal Medical Service.

Latest News Stories

‘Outrage’ over league’s inclusive ad

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 1:31 pm

THIRTEEN seconds out of 120 was all it took for shock jock radio and morning television to tie itself in knots over the NRL’s 2020 Simply the Best TV ad campaign. So much so that the league’s administrators had to quell the faux outrage by announcing plans to adjust the campaign, although details of that have yet to be released.

The ad, released last week, is a revamp of the original 1993 campaign that features pop icon Tina Turner and her hit song Simply the Best which is spliced with vision of some of the best moments in rugby league of the day and which brought attention to the game outside its traditional areas of the east coast of Australia.

What has outraged the perpetually outraged is when quarter of the way through the clip, it pans and pauses to league star Latrell Mitchell draped proudly in the Aboriginal flag together with young Aboriginal girl Aaliyah McGuinness singing the chorus solo before Turner and the music kicks back in. And that’s it.

Also, unlike the original ad, the current version is inclusive, featuring clips of other Indigenous players and also acknowledges the LGTBQAI+ community.

Critics of the ad have said it…

Jones secures final spot on Eagles list

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 1:20 pm

THE coveted final spot on AFL club West Coast’s 2020 list has gone to Jamaine Jones, a former Geelong player. The Eagles made their decision to put Jones on its rookie list last week.

It ended weeks of speculation where it was thought the club would choose from two other Indigenous players, former Fremantle player Brady Grey or former Giant and Carlton small forward, Jarrod Pickett, both of whom trained with the club this pre-season. But it was Jones, who was also invited to train, who impressed the club the most.

Jones, 21, played seven games with the Cats in 2018 but couldn’t crack the senior side in 2019 before being delisted. North Melbourne and Carlton showed strong interest but the Eagles got their man. He will fill the small forward role vacated by Willie Rioli.

Jones’ rise to the AFL is remarkable.

After a challenging start to life, when he was 10 he was…

Grans march for kids

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 1:15 pm

MEMBERS of the group Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) marched on the Lismore office of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services last week, demanding the return of their children in care and custody.

The GMAR members and their supporters argue that they never ceded sovereignty and therefore the department has no jurisdiction over their children.

They want to establish an Aboriginal-controlled service that would take care of children, with a focus on Aboriginal support networks, and getting kids out on country.

GMAR member Shelley Hoog summed up the sentiment of the crowd.

“Sorry means you don’t do it again. We want to stop this terrible state government taking our children,” she told the Koori Mail.

“There are 20,000 jarjums in Out of Home Care right now and we need to bring our children home.”

After rallying outside the office, Rose Walker, Priscilla Wightman and their legal representative Koora Crown, met with the director of the local service, Leanne Draper, who agreed to meet with them again in a week’s time to discuss their concerns.

Meanwhile, not-for-profit groups across NSW have called for significant new funding in the 2020/21 NSW budget to reduce the number of Aboriginal children in child protection. 

The Family is Culture collective…

Ngambaana win at KO

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 12:26 pm

NGAMBAANA lived up to its ‘Warrior’ moniker when the traditional-name team won the Goondiwindi Border Rugby League Knockout Carnival in just its second attempt.

The Warriors, formed to honour Barbara Dennison, family for a lot of the players, put in a whole-of-team performance to skittle North Coast Cowboys 28-12 at Gilbert Oval, late last month.

The annual Knockout competition, in what locals like to call ‘Bush State of Origin’, is a one-day event and is hosted by the local Goondiwindi Boars RLFC. The event is now in its fifth year.

It is held at the town that sits on the Queensland side right on the border with NSW, about a four-hour drive west of Brisbane.

A tournament capacity of 16 teams vied for the handsome prizemoney, a few notes shy of $15,000. Large local crowds are drawn to the event which gives local and visiting rugby league teams a solid pre-season hit-out as the season proper draws close.

Ngambaana were led by Lance McGrady and his side survived all that was thrown at them throughout the tournament that ended under lights.

Fans were also treated to the sight of league legend and 1991 Rothmans Medal winner, Ewan McGrady, 55, cutting opposition defences to ribbons, something…

Leading the way in keeping languages alive and strong

Wednesday, 11 March 2020 12:15 pm

COURSES in three Aboriginal languages are being offered by Charles Darwin University (CDU) this year – more than any other university in the country.

Students interested in learning an Indigenous language can choose from Yolŋu Matha from East Arnhem Land, Arrernte from Central Australia and Bininj Kunwok from West Arnhem Land.

All courses are available online and in a variety of formats, including short courses, undergraduate and postgraduate study options.

Yolŋu Studies lecturers, Gawura Waṉambi and Joy Bulkanhawuy work closely with Yolŋu teachers and students, providing guidance, cultural authority and education.

Mr Waṉambi, a Marraŋu man, said many different languages continued to be spoken by tribes across East Arnhem Land, as well as the more widely known form of common Yolŋu language taught in CDU’s Yolŋu Studies program.

He said it was important to remember that every clan has its own language, which is central to identity, communication and culture.

“My language describes who I am and allows me to communicate with all the other tribes around the East Arnhem Land region,” Mr Waṉambi said.

“Our language was given to us by our ancestral beings, it is a part of who we are and our identity. We are very strong in our language and…

Fashion starts a discussion on identity

Wednesday, 26 February 2020 12:08 pm

FOR Dunghutti Anaiwan woman Yatu Widders Hunt Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion is more than a piece of clothing with a beautiful design.

“I see the power of Indigenous fashion as a continuation of our long history of story-telling,” Yatu told the Koori Mail. “It’s an expression of contemporary Aboriginal identity, a platform to tell our stories to broader audiences in a creative and gentle way.

“And Indigenous fashion also allows us another platform in which to tell stories to people who might not otherwise hear them.”

Yatu is leading a panel discussion at MPavilion, in the Queen Victoria Gardens, opposite Arts Centre Melbourne on St Kilda Road, on Indigenous fashion storytelling on March 7.

She will be joined by Shelley Ware, Perina Drummond and Sandy Greenwood, as they tell the stories of their favourite fashion items and explore the cultural elements of fashion and design, presented as part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival’s ideas program.

And Yatu has her own story to tell, as founder of online community Australian Indigenous Fashion online community.

“Fashion is an opportunity to wear that story, it’s not static, it’s active and breathing in people’s lives,” she said.

“As an Aboriginal person growing up off country, I found fashion a way to connect with my cultural identity, and it was fun way of expressing ideas. 

“I started the Australian Indigenous Fashion…