Woor-Dungin’s 2017 AGM

Our AGM was not just a celebration of our achievements. It was a testimony to an organisation which is increasingly seen as [a] model for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people walking together.

Marty Gutride, Social and Emotional Wellbeing Coordinator

Woor-Dungin’s 2017 AGM

On 22 November Woor-Dungin held its fourth AGM, generously hosted by pro bono partner Colin Biggers & Paisley.

Our AGM was a celebration of the year’s successes, achieved in partnership with our staff, our members, our Aboriginal partner organisations, our pro bono supporters and our philanthropic partners.

The AGM opened with a beautiful Welcome to Country from Wurundjeri woman Brooke Wandin. This was followed by the Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners, and then formalities got underway, with Chris Clark’s Committee report and Christa Momot’s EO report.

We farewelled retiring Committee members Christa Momot, Shantelle Thompson and Katie Fraser, thanking them for their outstanding contributions to our organisation.

Christa Momot, Simone Spencer, Stan Winford

We welcomed new Committee members Sherree Chaudhry and Clare Land. Sherree is HR Manager at Woor-Dungin partner organisation Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation, located in south-western Victoria, while Clare is Program and Operations Manager at the Reichstein Foundation. Sherree and Clare will be wonderful additions to our Committee.

A highlight of the AGM was the presentation of the Aunty Frances Bond and Aunty Glenys Merry Award, named in honour of two of Woor-Dungin’s founders and given for achievement in reconciliation and respectful relationships.

Aunty Frances Bond and Aunty Glenys Merry Award recipients Stan Winford, Bronwyn Naylor, Simone Spencer and Wenzel Carter

This year, the award was presented to Stan Winford, Bronwyn Naylor, Simone Spencer, Naomi Murphy and Wenzel Carter in recognition of their ongoing work on the Criminal Record Discrimination Project (CRDP), and to Cheryl Asquith and Sherree Chaudhry to mark their roles as mentor and participant respectively in the Maarni Aboriginal Women’s Leadership Program, as well as to recognise Cheryl’s mentoring work with trainee Deanne Hill. The applause for all recipients was warm and heartfelt.

Following his Aunty Frances Bond and Aunty Glenys Merry Award, Stan Winford, Associate Director at RMIT University’s Centre for Innovative Justice, spoke about the importance of the work carried on by the CRDP. In the light of the recent (and very welcome) media spotlight on the ‘criminal records’ of children in state care prior to 1989 – whose number included Uncle Larry Walsh, who was due to speak next – Stan reminded the audience that, as important as it is to expunge such patently unjust ‘criminal records’, the aim of the CRDP is to boost Victorian Aboriginal employment by advocating for the introduction of a spent convictions scheme and for the prohibition of discrimination against prospective employees with an irrelevant criminal record.

Uncle Larry Walsh

And so to the next highlight – and the star turn of the afternoon, as evidenced by the media presence, which included an NITV film crew and an Age journalist – Taungurung Elder Uncle Larry Walsh. Uncle Larry spoke powerfully about being told by police at the age of nine that he had a ‘criminal record’ – for having been in state custody, an absurd and rank injustice.

Uncle Larry’s story, first published on Woor-Dungin’s website and later on NITV’s, helped to catalyse a successful recent motion by the Greens in the Victorian parliament calling for a state apology to all those who had similarly acquired a ‘criminal record’ for being in state care. Uncle Larry’s story touched everyone at the AGM, and he left the stage to thunderous applause.

Woor-Dungin’s 2017 AGM

Later in the afternoon we held a warm and genuine roundtable discussion with representatives from our Aboriginal partner organisations, Philanthropy Australia and philanthropic grantmakers, during which we explored ways to achieve truly interactive, mutually beneficial relationships among all parties.

We would like to extend many thanks to Colin Biggers & Paisley for so generously hosting our AGM – and indeed for all the pro bono support they have provided over the year – in particular, to Cheryl Asquith. Thank you indeed.

The 2017 Annual Report and Financial Report are available now.