Part 4Report on activities

DPS commitment to reconciliation

DPS is delivering on the practical actions it committed to on 8 July 2016, during NAIDOC Week, when the four parliamentary departments launched their second joint Reconciliation Action Plan.

Reconciliation Action Plans, or RAPs, are business plans that set out practical initiatives to build stronger relationships and enhanced respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians and help foster equality by supporting improved opportunities. This second RAP, which has been endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, outlines what the four departments will do to be more actively involved in the journey of reconciliation and to play our part in closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

In August 2017, two e-learning modules from the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Core Cultural Learning course were released to DPS staff as mandatory training. The modules aim to strengthen DPS’ cultural capability across all aspects of the work we do. Additional modules will be released to staff though 2018.

In August 2017 DPS participated in the first Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) Indigenous Mentoring Program. Two DPS employees were selected as mentors for the four-month program.

In February 2018, the DPS RAP Champion joined the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) Indigenous Champions Network. The network, which meets quarterly, focuses on collaborations between agencies and exploring new ideas that lead to better employment outcomes for Indigenous employees.

Parliamentary Service Indigenous Employee Network

The Parliamentary Service Indigenous Employee Network (PSIEN) was established in 2017 and is supported by the four parliamentary departments. The network was established to provide a safe supportive environment for all parliamentary service Indigenous employees to meet and express their views, experiences and concerns pertaining to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues both professionally and personally. The PSIEN continued to gain momentum during its second year, meeting on a monthly basis and increasing its membership. In May 2018, the PSIEN coordinated an event to launch National Reconciliation Week.

National Reconciliation Week launch at Parliament House. (Auspic)

Indigenous art protocols, practices and networks

The Parliament House Art Collection is a significant public collection of Australian art and DPS is committed to applying best practice policies and procedures in all aspects of its dealings with Indigenous artists and their works of art. DPS is a member of the Indigenous Art Code, which promotes industry best practice in upholding Indigenous Australian artists’ rights. DPS adopts the Charter of Principles for Publicly Funded Collecting Institutions in managing the Parliament House Art Collection. The charter promotes professional best practice in the acquisition and management of artworks by Indigenous artists.

President of the Senate, Senator the Hon Scott Ryan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon Tony Smith MP. Artwork credit: Tjaruwa Woods (1954–), Jennifer Mitchell (1955–), Myrtle Pennington (Circa 1939–), Kanta Donnegan (Circa 1944–), Ngalpingka Simms (n.d) Kuru Ala, The Home of the Seven Sisters, 2017, Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra ACT. (Auspic)

NAIDOC Week 2017 and National Reconciliation Week 2018

To celebrate NAIDOC Week 2017, DPS staged two major exhibitions. Prevailing Voices–Indigenous Australian Parliamentarians, coincided with the unveiling of the portrait of the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, while Sageraw Thonar–stories from the south–easterly season, showcased large linocut prints from the Badu Art Centre in the Torres Strait.

The National Reconciliation Week program of events for 2018 started on 25 May with a moving ceremony held by the PSIEN. The ceremonial flags were handed to the Parliamentary Service RAP Champions before being flown at the Parliament House entrances.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the presentation of the Barunga Statement, DPS partnered with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) to launch a significant temporary exhibition on the history of the Statement. This was launched on 29 May 2018 by Senator Patrick Dodson and the event included a screening of a landmark short film ‘Make it Right’.