10.11.16 STATEMENT SOLUTIONS THAT WORK: WHAT THE EVIDENCE AND OUR PEOPLE TELL US, THE ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER SUICIDE PREVENTION EVALUATION PROJECT REPORT LAUNCH

STATEMENT
SOLUTIONS THAT WORK: WHAT THE EVIDENCE AND OUR PEOPLE TELL US, THE ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER SUICIDE PREVENTION EVALUATION PROJECT REPORT LAUNCH
THURSDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 2016

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
STATEMENT
SOLUTIONS THAT WORK: WHAT THE EVIDENCE AND OUR PEOPLE TELL US, THE ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER SUICIDE PREVENTION EVALUATION PROJECT REPORT LAUNCH
THURSDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 2016

PATRICK DODSON:
Thanks to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples and the fantastic welcome from Matilda’s son and to see the mantle he is obviously assuming.  To hear his use of Ngunnawal language is great because language is a very important part of confidence and identity and giving people hope.

I want to thank the Minister, Mr Scullion for this initiative, for commissioning this report and the spirit in which he has indicated we will try to work together to make sure that action does flow from the set of words that are in the report.

We all know the awful statistics that are happening in the Kimberley. We have almost the highest rate of suicide in the world. I live in Broome and I’m glad to see people from the Kimberley here, from KALACC (Kimberley Aboriginal Law & Culture Centre). I know they have been doing a lot of work in this area, trying to promote understanding, and cultural processes that can get young people back on country to reunite with the land and with the Old People and the stories, to build strength. To see these families here from Leonora and from Fitzroy Crossing is fantastic.

There’s nothing worse, as you would know, than to get a call in the middle of the night or the early hours of the morning from a relation, and most of us experience this as Aboriginal people, to tell you that someone has died, that someone very young has taken their life. I recall this happened in Fitzroy Crossing with a dear 12 year old boy whose parents found him hanging from a tree in the yard.

Whatever caused that, I don’t know, and it’s very hard for us to understand, but this is the work of people like yourselves about people who are in pain, who are in loneliness, who are dejected, who have been frustrated and rejected, and words do matter, let me tell you. Words do matter.

There are some people in this place who think words don’t matter but you start saying terrible things to people and they believe them and it leads to terrible consequences. 

So those of us who know about the power of words and the awful effects that it has in our communities, hopefully out of this process, we will collaborate with all these members of the Parliament and all parties. There’s not one of us in the Parliament who wouldn’t want to see elimination to the causes that give rise to why young people commit suicide, or to understand why their lives are prematurely terminated. I will join with the Minister and his colleagues and the Greens and other Members because we are passionate about the future of the young people of Australia.  Not just indigenous people but the future of all young people in Australia who should live to enjoy the benefits of what we try to do in a place like this.

So Minister, thanks to you and also Ken Wyatt, another Western Australian member who’s passionate about this. We will collaborate with you to make sure the hard work and the words actually translate into action.

Thank you.

 

 

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