September Newsletter 2018

Dear Friends

Friends, we begin by thanking you for your continuing contribution and membership of ANTaR Queensland and your ongoing efforts to secure justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.  We would welcome anyone who has the time, money or both to assist us.  You will find membership renewal and donation links at the end of this email.  If you would like further information on any of our activities please go to our ANTaR Qld Webpage and, if you have not already done so, please join our ANTaR Qld Facebook.

I welcome the new management committee elected at the AGM on 22nd June 2018.  The MC is comprised of Ross Daniels; Wayne Sanderson; Cecilia Homerlein, Sammi Lillie; Jack Maudsley; Catherine Boeske and Christine Ellis.

In this Newsletter I want to confine myself to informing you about discussions taking place concerning the future of ANTaR National, the broader Australian ANTaR movement and, in particular, directions for ANTaR Qld.  It is fair to say that at individual State levels ANTaR takes many different shapes being relatively strong in Victoria and Queensland but across the board having limited membership and facing significant financial challenges.  It is by no means a uniform picture.  At a National level, ANTaR carries out very important campaigning and political lobbying work which has made significant contributions over many years.  If you have not already done so it is informative to visit the National Website - https://antar.org.au/ where you will find particularly well researched information on a range of campaigns including Justice, the Redfern Statement, Children in Out-Of Home- Care, Rethinking our National Holiday and Constitutional Recognition.  The work being carried out by ANTaR National is now being reviewed particularly in the light of financial and funding challenges and the increasing rise of other civil society organisations particularly the emergence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.  There have been no decisions about future directions, but I inform you that the discussion is well underway with consultations being held with key stakeholders and, where possible, State Management Committees.

The above is simply by way of background because to some extent whatever happens at the National level and with other States, ANTaR Qld can have an important and hopefully ongoing role to play.  As you know we have had significant engagement in Justice Reinvestment and issues around the Removal of Indigenous Children.  We continue to be involved in a limited way in Stolen Wages, Recognition and Closing the Gap.  Because we have been able to maintain Kylie for one day per week we have actually increased our engagement with the community especially through our location in West End Community House.  Kylie's work also means that we have a good profile with a wide range of Indigenous Organisations.  Information about all these activities can be found on our own Queensland website at http://antarqld.org.au/

However, in considering our future in Queensland, we need to be very realistic about our financial and human resource constraints and about what is possible in terms of a sustained effort.  Additionally, the Management Committee have had some discussion about the strategic direction of our movement in Queensland and that was aired to some degree at our Annual General Meeting.  In a nutshell we think that ANTaR Queensland should continue and that our major focus should be on outreach and education to the Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  The rationale being that despite years of trying, and literally hundreds of failed well-meaning reports, the situation for Australia's First Nation Peoples remains dire.  It is our view as a Management Committee that very little will change unless there is quite a radical shift in the knowledge and attitudes within the broader Australian population.  As stated we will continue wherever possible to remain committed to our current campaigns.  But we would like to suggest that we strengthen our outreach particularly through the use of social media.  The advantage of utilising social media is simply that high numbers of people can be reached with a limited number of active ANTaR Qld members.  We have several very specific goals and suggestions:

Facebook:  We have a very active Facebook page and regularly reach 1000 people per week.  This provides us with an avenue to spread information about a range of relevant issues.  For those who have personal Facebook pages we would encourage you to link to our own Facebook page and, when news items appear, please take the opportunity to share those with your friends and encourage your friends to join ANTaR QLD Facebook Page.  We are aiming to have 2000 Facebook members by the end of this year that we need your help in order to achieve this target.

Twitter:  We intend to resurrect our ANTaR Queensland Twitter account and again for those who use Twitter we ask you to follow us and to encourage your friends to link their Twitter accounts.  Again, this is a relatively easy way to broadcast information as well as commenting on current issues. 

Talkback Radio:  Talkback radio is a very popular forum and often views expressed are quite contrary to information and knowledge held by ANTaR.  Despite the difficulties of confronting some talkback hosts we would like to hear from anyone who feels that they would like to participate in activism around engaging talkback radio.  If you have an interest in this please contact the office.

Opinion Pieces and Letter to Editors:  This is similar to the above but represents an important avenue for countering racist and in many cases ill-informed opinions.  It is important to have a counter voice including at local newspaper levels.  Again, please contact the office you would like to take up this activity.

ANTaR Qld Book Club:  As previously mentioned we have an act Book Pod Cast Club which also can be accessed via our Facebook Page.  We would dearly love to expand the numbers of people involved in this because it is a great way for continuing education about a range of issues.  Again, if you have an interest in this please either join via your own Facebook page or contact our office.

We think that these initiatives around social media and broader community engagement are things which can be sustained by a small number of active members.  We also think they can have significant outcomes and be a meaningful contribution from a relatively small organisation.  As previously stated we will continue with the campaigns that are listed on our Website but in terms of the future direction we would really like your feedback on our social media suggestions and, if you are interested or would like to discuss please either contact the office or myself directly by email at rossjjdaniels@gmail.com

Membership renewal and donations

On several occasions we have mentioned the urgent need to have more people involved in our activities.  If you have an interest or would like further information please explore our website at: http://antarqld.org.au/ and renewing your membership is as easy as clicking here