To acknowledge and celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), IPAA Victoria hosted a memorable, reflective and inspirational Gala Dinner to celebrate women across the public purpose sector, raise awareness against bias and showcase the significant contributions made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who are at the forefront of driving Victoria’s historic treaty and truth-telling process.
Attended by 1,300 guests, this year’s International Women’s Day Gala Dinner was a unique opportunity for public sector leaders and professionals to listen to exceptional First Nations women who have challenged and triumphed against prevailing societal and political structures to pave a path ahead for future generations.
A brilliant keynote speech was given by Magistrate Rose Falla, Magistrate and Supervising Magistrate for Koori Justice, Melbourne Magistrate’s Court, who shared her personal story, tracing personal milestones and trail-blazing career achievements and the importance of implementing Koori justice across Victoria.
Magistrate Rose Falla highlighted the significance of integrity, and commented on the growing representation of women in a culturally diverse Victorian legal profession, of which more than 33% of lawyers speak another language other than English and females now outnumber men in holding a practising law certificate. She also noted, though, the distinctly lower number of Aboriginal members to yet be part of the ranks.
Elly Patira, Deputy Secretary, First Peoples State Relations, Department of Premier and Cabinet, gave an important speech exploring Victoria’s nation-leading Treaty Framework and how it can champion those less vocal, less dominant voices in the community and in the workplace.
The incredible and powerful panel discussion featuring esteemed panellists Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, Elected Co-Chair of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, Chair Eleanor Bourke AM, Chair of the Yoorrook Justice Commission, and Magistrate Rose Falla, explored why truth telling is essential to restore records, and treaty is fundamental in empowering Community to make decisions that impact their lives.
The panellists reflected on the important women who have influenced their lives, which was eloquently summed up by Chair Eleanor Bourke AM: it’s a constant in our lives … the strength of women.
With the work of the Yoorrook Justice Commission well underway and the imminent landmark commencement of treaty negotiations between the Victorian Government and Aboriginal Victorian communities, IPAA Victoria considers this event a timely opportunity to explore further the impact of treaty and truth-telling across different sectors, and how the innovation underpinning these nation-leading processes will support and transform the lives for First Nations Peoples in Victoria.
‘International Women’s Day always provides an opportunity to pause, acknowledge the adversity that women and others can experience, and celebrate many forms of achievement within the public purpose sector,’ said Nina Cullen, CEO, IPAA Victoria.
‘It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to hear from extraordinary First Nations women who are influencing change, particularly in Victoria, and championing the fundamental importance of treaty, truth-telling and Aboriginal self-determination,’ adds Nina Cullen, CEO, IPAA Victoria.
The evening’s host was Angela Singh, IPAA Victoria Board Member, Chair, Aboriginal Advisory Committee, IPAA Victoria, and Regional Director – North Western Victoria Region, Schools and Regional Service, Department of Education. The panel discussion was facilitated by Yolanda Robson and Nakoma-Sioux Wilson, Senior Policy Officers, Treaty Negotiations and Strategy First Peoples – State Relations, Department of Premier and Cabinet.
IPAA Victoria will continue to foster discussion about treaty, truth and voice in a variety of meaningful ways.
IPAA Victoria would like to acknowledge and extend our deepest gratitude to Major Partner KPMG Australia and Partners Maddocks, Fisher Leadership and Aware Super for their contribution and for supporting this important initiative.