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Celebrating NAIDOC Week across the Caribbean 2014:
"Serving Country: Centenary and Beyond"
What is NAIDOC week?
National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) celebrations are held around Australia in July each year to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.
NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July. It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.
The 2014 National NAIDOC theme – Serving Country: Centenary & Beyond.
This year’s theme was selected to honour all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have fought in defence of country.
National NAIDOC Committee co-chairs Anne Martin and Benjamin Mitchell said this year’s theme is about proudly highlighting and recognising the role they have played in shaping the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity and pausing to reflect on their sacrifice.
“This is about our warriors in the Frontier Wars to our warriors who have served with honour and pride in Australia’s military conflicts and engagements across the globe,” Ms Martin said.
Mr Mitchell added, “We wanted to celebrate and honour their priceless contribution to our nation.”
We encourage all Australians across the Caribbean to find ways, big and small, to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, history, culture and achievements.
Wherever you are in the Caribbean, you can take part in this celebration too.
Here are a few suggestions about how you can celebrate NAIDOC Week:
• Host a film viewing for your neighbours and friends (Sapphires, Rabbit Proof Fence, Ten Canoes, First Australians for example)
• Submit an article to a local paper chronicling:
a. What the government’s Apology to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander means to you and/or your family
b. A personal experience with the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community; or
c. Your favourite foods or cultural interests from the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community.
Photos and/or stories of your NAIDOC week activities can be sent to email@example.com for inclusion on the website
We would love to hear from you!
Approaching entry into Force: Australia ratifies the Arms Trade Treaty
On 3 June Australia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) New York, His Excellency Gary Quinlan deposited Australia's instrument of ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at an event held at the UN New York to mark the first anniversary of the Treaty's opening for signature. Seven other States (Austria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Samoa) also deposited their instruments of ratification at the event, bringing the total number of ratifications to 40.
An additional 10 ratifications are now needed to trigger the Treaty's entry into force. The ATT ratification ceremony took place during an event co-chaired by Australia and Trinidad and Tobago, with the co-sponsorship of the seven other ratifying States and Japan.
The full text of HE Quinlan's speech following the deposit of Australia's instrument of ratification can be downloaded here.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Julie Bishop also issued a Press Release on the ratification event which can be downloaded here.
An Op-ed on the significance of the Arms Trade Treaty by Minister Julie Bishop can be downloaded here.
National Reconciliation Week - Let's Walk the Talk
The Aboriginal Flag(l) and the Torres Strait Islander Flag(r) flank the Australian flag at the Australian High Commission in Port of Spain
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) spans 27 May-3 June and is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to contribute to building a reconciled Australia. NRW is held annually to promote reconciliation by building positive, respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians; enabling us to work together to close the gap, and to achieve a shared sense of fairness and justice. The dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey—27 May, the anniversary of the successful 1967 referendum—and 3 June the Mabo High Court decision, which overturned the concept of 'terra nullius'.
The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2014 is 'Let's Walk the Talk' and encourages everyone to get involved in building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and learn about what can be done to progress reconciliation in Australia. More information about reconciliation, and resources to assist in planning events can be found at: www.reconciliation.org.au.
The Australian High Commission invites Australians around the region to get involved. Share stories with friends, neighbours, co-workers; show a video at home or find other interesting ways to share Australia’s message of reconciliation.
National Sorry Day - We Remember
Sorry Day has been held annually on 26 May each year since 1998, and was born out of a key recommendation made by the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families in the Bringing them home Report that was tabled in Federal Parliament on 26 May 1997:
7a. That the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, in consultation with the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, arrange for a national `Sorry Day' to be celebrated each year to commemorate the history of forcible removals and its effects.
The first Sorry Day was held in Sydney on 26 May 1998, and has been commemorated nationally on 26 May each year since then, with thousands of Australians from all walks of life participating in memorial services, commemorative meetings, survival celebrations and community gatherings, in honour of the Stolen Generations.
The Australian High Commission in Port of Spain joins with Australians around the world in recognising, remembering and commemorating National Sorry Day 2014.
Australia in Focus - The G20 Presidency
Australia holds the presidency of the Group of Twenty (G20) from 1 December 2013 to 30 November 2014. Australia will chair the G20 meetings in 2014, bringing together leaders, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, Trade Ministers and Employment and Labour Ministers from major developing and advanced economies to address critical economic and financial challenges facing the world.
The G20 is the world’s premier forum for international economic cooperation and decision making. G20 members account for 85 per cent of global GDP, 75 per cent of global trade and two-thirds of the world’s population. Australia’s G20 Presidency will focus on promoting stronger economic growth and employment outcomes and making the global economy more resilient to deal with future shocks.The G20 Leaders’ Summit will be held in Brisbane on 15-16 November 2014.
For more details on the G20, download this overview.
To read about Australian Sherpa Dr Heather Smith's address on the priorities of Australia during its G20 Presidency, click here.
Anzac Day 2014
Anzac Day, the day on which Australians remember the sacrifice of those who have died in war, is commemorated every year on 25 April. The Anzac tradition—the ideals of courage, endurance and mateship that are still relevant today—was established on 25 April 1915 when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
On Friday April 25 2014 the High Commission held an Anzac Day Ceremony at the St. James Military Cemetery.
Below are some images from the ceremony.
British High Commissioner Arthur Snell (l), Minister of National Security, the Honourable Gary Griffith (2nd from l), and Australian High Commissioner Ross Tysoe (r) bow their heads as Wing Commander Darryl Daniel of the Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard reads a military prayer during the Anzac Day ceremony.
We remember Pilot Officer A.A. Morris, Flying Officer J.W.P. Walker and Flying Officer G.T. Risbey
The Australian High Commission takes this opportuity to thank everyone who participated in this year's Anzac Day ceremony.
Speaker of the House, Bronwyn Bishop visits Trinidad and Tobago
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, MP, is greeted on her arrival by President of the Senate of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Senator the Honourable Timothy Hamel-Smith. Looking on is Mr Brian Caesar, Marshal of the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
On April 05 2014, Speaker of the House of Representatives in Australia, the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, MP, conducted a 24 hour visit to The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. His Excellency Ross Tysoe, AO, Ms Leona Landers, Deputy High Commissioner, of the Australian High Commission in Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago and Mr Damien Jones, Senior Adviser accompanied Ms Bishop. Ms Bishop’s first stop was a courtesy call on Senator the Honourable Timothy Hamel-Smith, President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Honourable Wade Mark, MP, her Commonwealth counterpart in Trinidad and Tobago.
From L-R: President of the Senate (Trinidad and Tobago), Senator the Honourable Timothy Hamel-Smith, Speaker of the House of Representatives (Australia), the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, MP, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Anthony Carmona, SC, ORTT, and Speaker of the House of Representatives (Trinidad and Tobago), the Honourable Wade Mark, MP.
Ms Bishop then proceeded to a courtesy call on His Excellency Anthony Carmona, SC, ORTT, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, at Knowsley Building in Port of Spain. The meeting covered a number of items of mutual interest between Australia and Trinidad and Tobago and was very engaging discussion.
His Excellency Anthony Carmona, SC, ORTT, and the Honourable Speaker Bronwyn Bishop, MP, pose for a photo at Knowsley Building.
Ms Bishop’s delegation then departed for a visit to the Office of the Parliament where an interview was conducted for Trinidad and Tobago’s Parliament TV station. A tour of the Parliament Chamber, followed by conducted by Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith and Speaker the Honourable Wade Mark, MP.
Speaker the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, MP gets ready for her interview with Parliament Channel
A tour of Port of Spain and environs ending at the Lady Young Lookout point was then organised to allow Ms Bishop to experience a little of the sights and sounds of the capital city. In the evening the Executive Committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association hosted a farewell dinner for Ms Bishop and her delegation.
Speaker of the House of Representatives of Australia, the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, MP, and President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Anthony Carmona, SC, ORTT are flanked by His Excellency, Ross Tysoe, AO, Australian High Commissioner (left), President of the Senate, Senator the Honourable Timothy Hamel-Smith (2nd from left), Speaker of the House of Representatives of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Wade Mark, MP, (2nd from right) and Deputy High Commissioner of Australia, Ms Leona Landers (right).
The Australian High Commission takes this opportunity to thank all those who were involved in putting together this visit for the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Honourable Bronwyn Bishop, MP.
Commemoration of Commonwealth Day 2014
Commonwealth Day was observed on March 10 2014. The theme for this year was "Team Commonwealth." In observance of this important day and to increase awareness of its significance among the student population of Trinidad and Tobago, the Trinidad and Tobago Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association hosted a Commonwealth Day event on Wednesday 26 March 2014, at the Office of the Parliament in Port of Spain.
Speaker of the House, the Honourable Wade Mark, MP speaks with His Excellency, Ross Tysoe, AO and Deputy Head of Mission, Miss Leona Landers at the Australian information booth during the Commonwealth Day commemoration event.
Several Commonwealth countries resident in Trinidad and Tobago also participated in the event. These countries are:
Trinidad and Tobago
Following introductory remarks by The Honourable Wade Mark, MP, Speaker of the House and Senator the Honourable Timothy Hamel-Smith, President of the House, Dr Anthony Gonzales of the Institute of International Relations, University of the West Indies delivered a presentation which explored the history, role and function of the Commonwealth. During the formal Q&A session afterwards, His Excellency Ross Tysoe and several High Commissioners present fielded a series of interesting and well-researched questions from the students in attendance.
His Excellency Ross Tysoe and Dr. Anthony Gonzales of the Institute of International Relations discuss the finer points of the Australia - CARICOM relationship during the Commonwealth Day Commemoration Event
Attendees werethen invited to visit the various booths on display. Public Diplomacy and Policy/Research Officer, Ms Gwendolene Roberts facilitated the information awareness booth on Australia and all things Australian along with HE Tysoe and Deputy Head of Mission, Ms Leona Landers.
An Australian education is closer than you think!
The Australian High Commission takes this opportunity to thank the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and Speaker, The Honourable Wade Mark, MP, for extending the invitation to participate in this successful event.
International Women's Day Celebrations
On Friday 7 March, Deputy Head Of Mission, Ms Leona Landers hosted an afternoon tea for 70 invited guests in celebration of International Womens Day 2014. Under the theme 'Inspiring Change - for equal recognition of women in the arts', Ms Marina Salandy-Brown, a leading local arts and public media commentator, and former BBC Radio Producer and Presenter was the feature speaker. Sharing with those present, the challenges she faced as a young Trinidadian woman during her earlier career with the BBC, Ms Salandy-Brown took the guests on a journey from the 1970s women's rights movements up to the present day.
Ms Marina Salandy-Brown, feature speaker and Deputy Head of Mission, Ms Leona Landers
In keeping with the arts theme, Ms Landers then honoured Trinidadian Poet Laureate, Ms Eintou Pearl Springer, for her contribution to the advancement of women and women's rights. Ms Springer is also a noted playwright and cultural activist.
Ms Eintou Pearl Springer (c) is flanked by Ms Dara Healy, Founder of IDAKEDA (l) and Deputy Head of Mission, Ms Leona Landers (r)
Australian Aboriginal poet, the late Ms Oodgeroo Noonuccal, whose writings have inspired, and continues to inspire, generations of women across the globe was also honoured with a reading. In her honour, guests received a commemorative bookmark inscribed with the words of the poem, A Song of Hope.
The family and staff of the Australian High Commission wish to thank all those who contributed to the success of its International Women's Day event.
For more information on the International Women's Day click here.
Australian Government Funding changing lives for women with Cervical Cancer in Grenada and Dominica
The Manager and President of the HCC recently returned from country visits to Grenada and Dominica where they were able to see first-hand how funds provided by the Australian Direct AID Program (managed by the HCC) are contributing to a coordinated multi-faceted community based response to cervical cancer.
In Grenada, prevention and advocacy are the focus of the Grenada Cancer Society's sub project which has already produced a radio jingle to be launched nationally in March. A documentary featuring survivors of cervical cancer is currently under development and will shed light on the journey of women diagnosed with the disease in that country. Dr Barrymore Mc Barnette, a local physician and president of the GCS noted that a recent cervical cancer study revealed that cervical cancer related mortality is on the rise and attributed this to late screening, delayed treatment and limited treatment options in the island.
In addition to the jingle and documentary, the GCS is working with NGO partners and the Ministry of Health to develop evidence informed awareness materials to combat cervical cancer myths and encourage pap testing among women in rural areas. While in Grenada, the HCC was pleased to meet with the GCS Executive Board; the Minister of Health, Honourable Dr Clarice Modeste; Ms. Shere-ann Noel of CC-6 Television; and NCD NGOs, Planned Parenthood, Grenada National Organisation of Women, Central Health Grenada, and the Grenada Diabetes Association.
In Dominica, the focus is on meeting some of the treatment needs of underserved women diagnosed with cervical cancer. The Dominica Cancer Society is working in partnership with the local hospital oncologist Dr Malaka to provide treatment vouchers for women with greatest need. The project is also highly collaborative with community partners and the Ministry of Health, supporting the development of educational materials and the training of outreach volunteers which will serve to expand the work of the DCS in this area. Tina Alexander of the Executive Board remarked that the 'side effects' of the project have been so positive - including strengthening the capacity of the DCS around cervical cancer, creating new partnerships, and building the operational capacity of the organisation with the purchase of much needed equipment. Vinna Royer, Ex-President and member noted that membership in the HCC has allowed the DCS to cultivate critical partnerships with CSOs across the Caribbean including the Cancer Institute of Guyana (also a sub-grantee on this project) where DCS has referred cervical cancer patients for treatment.
High Commissioner Ross Tysoe, AO also visited the Dominica Cancer Society during his visit to the Commonwealth of Dominica during February 2014. During his visit he was able to meet with the leadership team of the Dominica Cancer Society and discuss the impact of the ongoing collaboration as well as areas for future engagement.
For more information on the collaboration between the Australian High Commission HCC, and the HCC's work in the region, click here.
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust Australia
The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust has been established to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s unrivalled 60 year contribution to the Commonwealth.
The Queen has served as Head of the Commonwealth for 60 years. During that time she has won the respect and admiration of many Australians for her outstanding life of public service. In 1954, just two years after she became Queen, she became the first reigning monarch ever to visit Australia. Since then, she has been a frequent visitor to our country. Her visit last year with Prince Phillip to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee marked her 16th journey down under.
More information or to be part of this project, click here.
Media Releases from the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs can be found here.
Media Releases from the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment can be found here.
Speeches from the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs can be found here.
Speeches from the Australian Minister for Trade and Investment can be found here.