Women for Wik are ordinary Australians. Our parents have brought us up to believe in the best of traditional Australian values-justice, equality, friendship-and a fair go. We are concerned that Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory are not getting a fair go, and our voices are joined in protest. We are worried about a particular policy, not particular political parties. We are committed to changing the current situation, so that it more clearly reflects the values of ordinary Australians.
Aunty Ali Golding & Becky Harcourt
Aunty Ali Golding & Becky Harcourt
at the Dreaming Festival June 2007
Aunty Ali (Ms.Ali Golding) is a Biripi woman from the Biripi Nation. She lived in Redfern, Sydney for over 22 years and now resides in Little Bay, Sydney. In June 2004 Aunty Ali graduated from Nungaliya College, Darwin, in the Northern Territory with the Diploma of Theology having achieved the Certificate III Theology 1st the previous year. As an Elder, Aunty Ali is an Ambassador of her People. She is regularly invited to officially address through traditional Welcome To Country and Smoking Ceremonies and preside at international, national and local conferences, cultural events, spiritual and ceremonial gatherings, retreats, church, school and other organisation's events. Aunty Ali has welcomed and convened with overseas dignitaries such as Princess Margaret, Nelson Mandela, as well as our own Australian Parliamentarians, such as Gough Whitlam and John Howard. In the early 1990's represented her People at the World Spirit Healing Conference in Canada.
Since returning to Australia in 2003, after living abroad for 20 years, I have spent much time listening, being and working with Indigenous Communities in NSW, Central Australia, and Queensland, in particular bringing together young people from Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds. As an educator, with experience in theatre, facilitating cross cultural groups and working with government in Europe, I am passionate about building bridges across our Communities within Australia, believing shared opportunities not only increase awareness and understanding but bring much joy to all our lives. I am an advocate and involved with the Women's Reconciliation Network and Indigenous Community Volunteers.
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Madge & Grace
I’m a retired social worker, with many years involvement as a counsellor-activist in women’s services and in disability advocacy action. I came to a university education later in life and am now nearly finished a Masters in Women’s Studies degree. This is helping me chart a course toward greater involvement in older women’s politics. And it will be a feminist politics of course because having been nurtured within a feminist environment here in Townsville for the past thirty years I am destined to grow old feminist.
My mum lives with me and we share a lively interest in current affairs and a commitment to social justice, an end to violence and an end to environmental vandalism.
I’m just an ordinary woman who hates injustice. I’m not a natural fighter but over the years have had to find the courage to confront some almost overwhelming challenges and then get on with my life. I might have been bloodied by those experiences but I remain unbowed.
Ordinary people like me are like the bit players in the big movie of our lifetime, background to the stars, but all important. Now I am too frail to live alone I’ve found a safe haven here with my daughter and through her, and her computer, can still find a way to do my bit. I am proud to be part of this action.
Eleanor Jenkins, NSW
I'm 17 and just about to finish High School in Newcastle. I'm hoping to go to university sometime in the next few years.
I feel strongly about the degree of social injustice in Australia, especially between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and I'm often appalled by the ignorance so many people display about the issue. Many people my age aren't interested in current affairs or politics, but I believe strongly that you,re never too young (or old) to have opinions, or to voice those opinions. That's why I'm so enthusiastic about Women for Wik-it lets ordinary people speak out for what they believe in. Projects like this really are the first step to making a difference.
Jan WhitakerI'm an educator, and an American/Australian who has adopted this
country and it me. I am concerned by the assertion that some children
aren't going to school, and their families will be penalised if they
don't. One major problem is that at High School level there are FEW
CONVENIENT schools for the children to attend without having to move
away from home. I believe that both Commonwealth and Territory
governments must be held to account. I'm an educator at the core, and
don't believe there is any better way to escape poverty and take
control of one's life than through education. But it must be accessible
and appropriate to the child.
Police actions are confrontational by default, whether intended or not. Teachers are not. Send teachers, not cops. Send counselors, not army. Send more money, not less.
Jan Whitaker Website
On a recent stay in Alice Springs I drove with family, including a grandfather, a baby and nursing mother, for 120 km to Hermannsburg to see Namatjira country and paintings, and have lunch. Surprise. The Prime Minister and Army were before us, and we watched from behind detour signs as he glad-armed Aboriginal elders and genially said that he hoped he had explained and that their misunderstandings had been cleared up. All Aborigines there were polite, though only the children sent to clamor around the PM were jubilant. The photo opportunity on TV that night showed the children and the great dignity of those whose community has been made a specimen for army and medical examination. There was no visible opposition, but I was tremendously saddened by this exploitation by publicity of fine people who know they will be adversely impacted by Government and Army intervention. Given the secrecy preceding the visit and the new legislation, the Prime Minister was protected from contrary views.
Alice Arnott Oppen taught literature for thirty years. She is author of the book Shakespeare: Listening to the Women (Seaview, 1999).
Read Alice Oppen's Viewpoint
Claire & Max
I'm just an ordinary woman at home from work on maternity leave but engaged with the
world through the internet and through the newspaper. I am horrified by the Federal
Government's intervention into the situation in the Northern Territory. Well meaning
it may be, but so was the child removal policy. I believe no real progress will be made
until we look deeply at the causes of child abuse and drug abuse in Indigenous
communities and recognise these as symptoms of societal decay caused by cultural
decimation - a result of white Australia. One simple step towards tackling this issue,
which would have real moral meaning, would be for the Federal Government to say sorry.
While we are waiting for that to happen, we must keep the pressure on the Government to
involve Indigenous people meaningfully in the decisions that affect their lives.
I am a non-Indigenous teacher and student. I have had the privilege of
learning from Indigenous Australians in a number of places, most
recently in northern Thailand through work with Indigenous Knowledge
and Peoples (IKAP) in Chiang Mai. Indigenous Australians are strong,
dignified, intelligent human beings who have the capacity like all
humans to establish robust, healthy, productive communities which serve
their specific needs. The role of the government is to support them in
I am proud to stand with fellow Australian women committed to lasting social justice for all Australians and urge other women to show their support for Women for Wik.
Sophie Rudolph's Viewpoint
Professor Lynn Meskell
Professor Lynn Meskell
Prominent Australian feminist Germaine Greer has summed up our nation's sad history - 'ever since white men set foot in Australia more than 200 years ago, they have persecuted, harassed, tormented and tyrannised the people they found there.' The Howard government has continued that shameful legacy and rescinded the progressive work of past decades, especially under a Labor government. Instead of Australians being able to hold our heads high as a nation for our relationships with indigenous people, we have once again proven ourselves to be racist and colonialist. It is not enough that the Prime Minister has Australians involved in a war abroad that is not our own, we have begun persecuting and dominating our own people at home.
I am a member of of the Department Anthropology at Stanford University. Like one million other Australian citizens, I live overseas. This does not mean that I do not notice, or care about, what happens in Australia.
I've just read the opinion piece by Claire Smith in The Age. I have two young daughters of my own, who have been lucky enough to have been brought up in a community where all kinds of sports were available for them to play. They had underage discos at night time, and lots of opportunities to enjoy their youth.
I think the situation in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory is a very, very sad. It is clear that these young people don't have the things they need - even the basic facilities. I've spoken to people about this, and I was surprised to find out that that many of these communities don't even have a recreation centre.
Like any other kids, Aboriginal kids need somewhere to go to play pool, or video games, or just hang out with their mates. How hard would that be to do? A rec. centre? All those communities should have them, with some really good young youth workers there that could make life exciting, make the communities a good place to be.
Let's not just sit back and watch any more kids take their own lives. Let's do something about it. Now.