NAIDOC Week 2005

Official Flag Raising, RG Casey Building Forecourt.

4 July 2005

Address by Doug Chester, Acting Secretary, Mr Doug Chester

Excellencies, distinguished guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.

I acknowledge the Ngunnawal peoples - the traditional custodians of the land on which we stand today.

On behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, I welcome you to this flag-raising ceremony to celebrate NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week 2005.

The national theme for this year's NAIDOC Week is "Our future begins with solidarity". 

NAIDOC Week provides a special opportunity each year for Indigenous Australians to promote their history and culture.

It is also an opportunity for non-Indigenous Australians to learn about, reflect upon and acknowledge the unique contribution of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

We have a proud tradition in the department of commemorating NAIDOC Week.

In our Australian offices and at our overseas posts we have activities which highlight the contribution of Australia's Indigenous peoples to contemporary Australia.

We have an engaging NAIDOC Week program in Canberra. 


The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags will be flown or displayed at offices throughout DFAT's global network.   during NAIDOC Week. 


Australian Government delegations and missions overseas are actively promoting understanding and appreciation of Indigenous Australian contemporary life and achievements, art and culture through a range of activities and events.

To promote Indigenous Australia during NAIDOC Week our Bangkok office has organised a display of publications on Indigenous Australians at the TK Park Public Library, Central World Plaza, from 3 to 19 July. Today the post and university student volunteers are organising activities for children at the Library, including story-telling under the theme "Our Future begins with Solidarity", and boomerang painting for 10 to 12 year olds.


The department also has an active Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program in the Images of Australia Branch.  This program is part of DFAT's mission to project internationally a positive and accurate image of Australia's rich multicultural society.

The touring Kiripuranji exhibition, featuring Tiwi Islands contemporary art, and the photographic exhibition Kickin' up dust, portraying four major Indigenous cultural festivals, have been significant opportunities to promote Australian Indigenous culture internationally. 

The Kiripuranji exhibition is in its final week at the Sursock Museum in Beirut following a highly successful showing. 

The Kickin' up dust exhibition will open in Port Moresby tomorrow evening (Tuesday 5 July).  The Torres Strait Cultural Festival is one of the four The opening will include a special guest from the Torres Strait who will speak about the Torres Strait Cultural Festival, one of the festivals featured in the exhibition, and a special guest from the Torres Strait will speak at the opening about the unique nature of iIslander culture. -the sometimes forgotten other indigenous people of Australia.

The Seasons of Kunwinjau exhibition, of prints and photographs from west Arnhem Land, is on show in the Australian Pavilion at the World Expo in Aichi in Japan.

These exhibitions have toured the world and been displayed in Beijing, manilaManila, New Delhi, Seoul, New York, Wellington, Suva, Singapore, Dili, The Hague, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Vientiane and Copenhagen to name just a few cities.


DFAT also has talented Indigenous employees representing and promoting Australian interests in Australia and overseas.

In November 2004Last year, the department re-convened the Indigenous Task Force and launched its Indigenous Recruitment and Career Development Strategy 2004-07.  The strategy aims to ensure that DFAT continues to attract talented Indigenous Australians and to increase the number of Indigenous Australians employed in the department through the Indigenous Cadetship cadetship and Graduate graduate recruitment programs, and lateral recruitment.

In the past four years, fourteen Indigenous Australians have joined DFAT as part of our graduate trainee schemes or our and Indigenous cadetship programs. 

We currently have 35 Indigenous employees now working with DFAT.  Twelve of our Indigenous staff are representing Australia overseas. 

We hope to have similar success in the coming years in attracting and retaining more Indigenous employees.

I thank the department's Indigenous employees for their contribution to so many areas of our work.

I also thank most warmly those members of the department's Indigenous Employees Network who have organised this year's NAIDOC Week activities.

I encourage you to take part in all the department's NAIDOC Week events and, in so doing, help celebrate the vibrancy and enduring influence of our IndigenousAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures.

Thank you.

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