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Garrmalang announces Panellists for Blak Talks Panel Discussions

[by Chryss Carr]


Mililma May. Image: supplied

2022 Garrmalang Festival - Numanggwa-Gum Blak Talks has recruited a formidable group of First Nations experts from across the country to discuss the burning issues impacting the lives of First Nations people and in media discourse right now.


“This is a potent gathering of panellists.” says Wendy Ludwig, Creative Director.


PANEL ONE  12 noon – 1pm The Playhouse, Darwin Entertainment Centre Numanggwa-Gum | Blak Talk - Gununu Gwiyarrwa and Nimik (Law Trouble & Young People) – Crime and Youth Justice - addresses one of the most contentious subjects in the NT—youth justice.


The Panellists are:  Dr. Hannah McGlade, Josephine Crawshaw, Mililma May and Renae (Rockett) Bretherton. This panel will be moderated by ABC journalist, Jane Bardon, who is highly regarded for her coverage of Indigenous affairs and youth justice in the NT.

It’s been five years since the White/Gooda Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT published its report along with its 217 recommendations. The Royal Commission exposed a “system” that brought shame to the NT and Australia as a whole. That same Royal Commission also summonsed and relied upon national and international expert evidence on best-practice in the area of juvenile justice. Five years on, the situation has not improved. It is arguably worse.


In this discussion, First Nations activists and experts will offer much needed insight into the current state of the system and draw on an extensive body of evidence to outline the solutions and answer audience questions. This panel promises to tackle the toughest questions to engage the wider community on this critical issue, featuring a special performance of the 2022 MusicNT award winning song ‘Unlock the System’ by J-MILLA.


The NT’s detention centres are overcrowded and understaffed. Legislation to deny children bail ensures that detainee numbers continue to rise. Rates of self-harm inside are skyrocketing, in what experts have called a ‘pressure cooker environment’. NT police continue to use barbaric restraint chairs and spit hoods on children in custody, while Alice Springs residents discuss vigilante action to tackle youth crime. The vast majority of children detained in the NT are Indigenous.


This panel will take questions from the audience, ensuring a vigorous discussion.


PANEL TWO 2PM  – 3PM The Playhouse, Darwin Entertainment Centre

Numanggwa-Gum | Blak Talk – Yidjana-ili lidji? (Are You Listening?) Truth, Treaty, Voice

In 2017, the Uluru Statement from the Heart was presented to the Australian people from First Nations Australians. The Statement asked Australians to walk together to build a better future. In the absence of a positive national response to this invitation, the last five years has seen First Nations peoples across the country proceed with debating, negotiating and implementing initiatives of importance, relevant and appropriate to their peoples within State and Territory borders.

This panel discussion, moderated by Ursula Raymond, will provide the broader Australian populace with an insight and update on First Nations initiatives and discussion on "where to next?" that will build towards a better future.


Featuring this country’s leading voices on the subject: Tony McAvoy SC and Acting NT Treaty Commissioner recently handed down the 180 page NT final treaty report and urges the government to act on the report “with speed”. Joining him is Mick Gooda ready to provide the latest update on Queensland. Hon Kyam Maher MLA – Attorney-General of South Australia and the Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs provides an update on South Australia. Amy Rust provides the Victorian update and Dr. Hannah McGlade the West Australia update. Moderated by Ursula Raymond the Deputy Treaty Commissioner NT.


Together this potent panel tackle the important issues affecting First Nations communities throughout Australia and like Panel One will take questions from the audience.


The NT Government has stated it will provide a formal response to the report by the end of the year. If its recommendations are honoured, the 180-page report could lay the foundation for significant new decision-making powers for Indigenous people, who make up a third of the Territory's population.

Both events are FREE event but registrations are required.

Garrmalang Festival runs from Friday 29 - Sunday 31 July 2022. View or print the full program here.


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