Straight Talk

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

The program includes opportunities for relationship-building between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and parliamentarians, information-sharing and developing strategies for change in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

For the past six years the Straight Talk program has brought together more than 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women from across the nation to Canberra and to regions throughout the country to learn about Australia’s political system and form powerful networks with each other and with women of Federal and State Parliament. Straight Talk focuses on developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s skills to make positive changes through political engagement, while also increasing engagement in public and political life.

The Straight Talk National Summit will return in 2016. Please contact Ngarra Murray or call (03) 9289 9236 to be added to our mailing list.

In the interim, watch the full version of the Straight Talk 2013 Summit.


Straight Talk National Summit 2014

Straight Talk held its fifth National Summit in September 2014 – bringing together over 50 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.

Photo: James Henry/OxfamAUS

Photo: James Henry/OxfamAUS

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.

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: Deborah Cheetham, Jackie Huggins and Joy Savage.


Straight Talk Regional Gatherings

Photo: James Henry photography/OxfamAUS

In 2013/2014 Straight Talk delivered regional gatherings in Alice Springs, Melbourne and the Torres Strait.

These gatherings provide 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.