Straight Talk 2013. Photo: Wayne Quilliam/OxfamAus Straight Talk 2013. Photo: Wayne Quilliam/OxfamAus

Straight Talk

Straight Talk connects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women with the political system and builds the capacity of women as change makers. Including a focus on practical tools and confidence, Straight Talk brings people together to share, learn and be effective in making a difference.

Now in its fifth year Oxfam Australia’s Straight Talk program has engaged over 350 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women across Australia supporting them to self-determine their own solutions, exercise their rights and to have a strong voice in decisions that affect their lives.

Straight Talk National Summit 2013

PHOTO: Tony McDonough/OxfamAUS

Straight Talk held its fourth National Summit in June 2013 – Bringing together 59 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from across the nation to Canberra to learn about Australia’s political system and form powerful networks with each other and with women of Federal Parliament. Held over five days, the summit focused on developing the women’s skills to make positive changes through political engagement, while also increasing engagement in public and political life.

The Straight Talk National Summit included a series of interactive workshops and activities focusing on how political decision making happens; the workings of the parliamentary system; the role of political advisers and consultative mechanisms; and how to access political representatives. The women also acquired skills in power mapping, issue analysis, putting lobbying into action and media basics.

PHOTO: Tony McDonough/OxfamAUS

The program provided participants with the opportunity to engage with the 30 participating female parliamentarians from all political leanings. These meetings facilitated two-way learning between the women and parliamentarians, and created opportunities for future collaboration – working together to achieve greater justice and equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It was also an important avenue for parliamentarians to deepen their understanding of the realities and concerns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from their state or territory.

Participants were also inspired by presentations from Indigenous women “trailblazers” including: Lisa Briggs (Chief Executive Officer of The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation); Kim Farmer (Solicitor with over 20 years experience in Indigenous land and heritage, education, cultural awareness) and Shirley Peisley (an active campaigner for Aboriginal welfare and cultural and legal rights since the 1960s – well known for her activism in the lead up to the 1967 Referendum).

Straight Talk Regional Gatherings

Straight Talk Thursday Island

Straight Talk Thursday Island August 2012. Photo: Natasha Newman/OxfamAus

In 2012 Straight Talk delivered three Regional Gatherings in Perth, Cairns and Thursday Island. These gatherings provided an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to exchange ideas, knowledge and experiences with each other and work together to develop strategies to share information around common issues, and develop ideas that can be shaped into concrete positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The gatherings built on the National Summit, delivering workshops on a range of community and campaign related skills specific to the local context in which they are delivered, providing an opportunity to go into detail about solutions, or innovative programs at a community level.

Straight Talk will continue to deliver Regional Gatherings throughout the year.

Watch video about Straight Talk National Summit 2011


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