Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women meet to Straight Talk in Victoria

Indigenous Affairs article written on the 01 Apr 2014

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from all over Victoria will meet in Melbourne today for the state’s first-ever regional Straight Talk, a gathering which supports indigenous women to make positive changes in their communities through political influence.  

 The gathering, which will run until Thursday 3 April, is one of a number of regional meetings being held throughout the country aimed at strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s skills to engage with the political system, and become effective change-makers.

 Oxfam Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s Program Manager Karrina Nolan said Straight Talk has engaged with hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women since it began six years ago.

 “Straight Talk has touched the lives of more than 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women across Australia, and has helped to connect these women with the political system and have a stronger voice,” said Ms Nolan.

 “We are excited to be hosting the first-ever regional Straight Talk in Melbourne, and are confident the women of Victoria will bring a range of fresh ideas and powerful discussions to the event.  

 “These women have a powerful role to play in leading change. Straight Talk has come from a belief that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sisters around the country must be a part of the politics which impact our daily lives.

 “These gatherings work to engage, empower and skill our mob to put forward ideas and solutions to address the issues in our communities. It’s critical that we have a strong voice in the decisions that affect our lives,” said Ms Nolan.

 Tammy Hunter, a participant of last year’s national Straight Talk gathering, said it was an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to come together and build greater confidence in their knowledge of the political system.

 “I walked away from the national Straight Talk forum feeling empowered on many different levels,” said Ms Hunter.

 “I now feel comfortable talking politics and using my voice, and most of all, I feel I can talk up and help to empower other indigenous women.”

 For interviews, please contact Emma Whalan on 0418 873 782 or emmawhalan@oxfam.org.au