Professor Muriel Bamblett is a proud Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja woman and one of Australia’s leading experts on Aboriginal child welfare. Her unique and profound understanding of the social challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families will help drive the Family Matters’ campaign towards achieving its goals.
Muriel has long been an active advocate for having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people engaged and involved in the issues that affect them. She’s worked tirelessly to ensure the children in these communities maintain a strong connection with their cultural identity.
Clearly, her values and priorities align with the vision and goals we are committed to at Family Matters.
Aboriginal control has been shown to be essential as Aboriginal families trust and use these services and they become hubs of positive Aboriginal cultural experiences; very powerful for preventing kids going off the rails.”
– Muriel Bamblett AM
Muriel has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the Centenary of Federation Medal; the 2003 Robin Clark Memorial Award for Inspirational Leadership in the Field of Child and Family Welfare; the Women’s Electoral Lobby Inaugural Vida Goldstein Award; and in 2011, was inducted into the 2011 Victorian Honour Roll of Women and was a finalist for a Human Rights Medal with the Australian Human Rights Commission.
She was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2004 Australia Day Honours for her services to the community, particularly through leadership in the provision of services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
Muriel has been employed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency since 1999.
Dr Hannah McGlade is a Nyungar human rights lawyer and academic who has published widely on many aspects of Aboriginal human rights issues, especially those affecting the lives of Aboriginal women and children. Her Ph.D manuscript received the Stanner Award and she is the author of Our Greatest Challenge, Aboriginal children and human rights. At present, Hannah is the Senior Indigenous Research Fellow at Curtin University and also a member of the Noongar Child Protection Council, the Aboriginal Family Law Service and the Djinda Family Services.
As the first Aboriginal woman to graduate from a Western Australian law school in 1995, Hannah has been active in law reform, advocacy and community development. In recognition of her outstanding work in the Noongar community, including in relation to the repatriation of the former Sister Kate’s Children Home lands, Hannah received the 2008 WA NAIDOC Outstanding Achievement Award.
In 2016 Hannah (who holds a Masters in International Human Rights Law) was appointed the Senior Indigenous Fellow at the United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva, during which time she assisted with the work of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and presented to the Human Right Council. She has advocated and appeared before a number of UN human rights bodies, including the UN Committee on the Elimination of Race Discrimination (2017) where she represented Aboriginal child rights and also as an advisor to the Australian Law Reform Commission 2017 Inquiry into Indigenous incarceration which has called for a national review into Aboriginal children and out-of-home care.
Professor Chris Sarra is the founder and Chairman of the Stronger Smarter Institute, and Professor of Education at the University of Canberra, as well as Director of Strong Smart Solutions, a business and leadership consultancy.
In 2016 Chris received the prestigious NAIDOC Person of the Year Award as recognition for ongoing and relentless efforts to positively change educational expectations of Indigenous children throughout Australia.
Chris became best known in the late 1990s when he took on the challenges of Indigenous education as Principal of Cherbourg State School in South East Queensland. Through Chris’s leadership the school became nationally acclaimed for its pursuit of the Stronger Smarter philosophy, which significantly improved the educational and life outcomes of its students.
Tahnee Sutton is a descendent of the Narungga-Ngarrindjeri nations of South Australia. Tahnee has faced substantial adversity in her life so far including her father’s sudden death at age 6 months and her mother’s sudden death at age 5 years. Tahnee’s maternal grandmother provided kinship care for Tahnee, her brother and sister, allowing Tahnee to remain connected to family and raised with culture; these two things would be the strengths she embraced during her troublesome teens to overcome bad decision making, and support her ability to turn her life around.
Tahnee’s accomplishments so far include:
- Tahnee is the recipient of the (SA) NAIDOC Young Person of the Year Award (2016) and is employed as Office Manager for the Department of Transport and Infrastructure – Office of Design and Architecture SA;
- Tahnee is a graduate of the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP) and spoke alongside Rob De Castella at the 2017 Reconciliation SA Breakfast about her experience of running in the New York Marathon. In September 2017 Tahnee completed the famous Boston Marathon and intends to continue running in international events.
- Tahnee was also a member of the first ever South Australia female Indigenous cricket team to compete in the Imparja Cup, a national Indigenous cricket carnival held annually in Alice Springs.
Tahnee values her role as ambassador for the Family Matters campaign as it recognises the critical importance of connection to family and culture for Aboriginal children, especially those residing in out-of-home placements.