Dorinda Cox’s August Update


Moving towards the Voice Referendum in October I have been attending various First Nations events, such as the Garma Festival, and highlighting some of the issues affecting First Nations People. But also managed some time out for sport.

By Senator Dorinda Cox

It has been a busy time both in Parliament and in the electorate since the June edition, and I am pleased to bring you a wrap-up of what I’ve been doing on your behalf.

Brad Pettitt MLC and I haveTruth Telling Commission worked on a petition calling for the establishment of a Truth-telling and Justice Commission in WA, which has received community support from nearly 750 people. WA has a number of ongoing injustices towards First Nations peoples that haven’t been responded to and the commission would provide a mechanism to hold the State Government to account and ensure that services are designed and operated in a culturally safe way.

The model is for a commission similar to the Yoorrook Justice Commission in Victoria, that’s able to make broad recommendations about practical actions and reforms to address systemic racial issues.

Dockers and WoodsideA campaign to urge the Fremantle Dockers not to renew its corporate sponsorship deal with Woodside is also receiving support. I was among community members and leaders who gathered at Fremantle Oval for a photoshoot for local paper the Fremantle Herald.

We all enthusiastically chanted the slogan “give Woodside the boot’ and I could feel the strength of everyone’s conviction to be heard by the Dockers on this issue. The campaign is sending a strong message to Woodside from as many Dockers supporters as possible before the end of the 2023 season, so they hear loud and clear that the community does not want them to renew sponsorship from a climate and habitat wrecking fossil fuel giant. Thanks to everyone who has signed ‒ are you listening, Woodside? Check out the front page story.

I received an invitation to meet with Australian Parents for Climate Action in Parliament House and we spoke about Middle Arm, Beetaloo, health, climate, culture and fracking. It is inspiring and reassuring to see a vocal group of parents advocate for urgent action on climate for their children and future generations (see header photo).

Yule RiverI was grateful for the warm welcome I received attending the annual Yule River Bush Meeting in the Pilbara and big congratulations to Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) for running the bush meeting so effectively.

Most importantly, I was inspired by the work that’s been done in forming the Call to Action to governments. We heard from some amazing women while we were there, all of them are strong, proud leaders who care for their community, their culture, and their Country.

Interview NITV Garma
Interview with Natalie Ahmat from NITV at the Garma Festival

My heart was full being on-Country and joining with mob to honour the legacy and memory of the inspirational Yunupingu during the 23rd annual Garma Festival. The event, on the Gulkula ceremonial site on the Gove Peninsula, Northern Territory, was a celebration of Yolngu life and culture and attracted people from all over the nation.

Gatherings such as this which bring together both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, to discuss the pressing issues affecting my people, are crucial especially in the year of the Voice. It was great to run into the deadly Tony Armstrong and Jack Thompson AM. I enjoyed being part of a panel on the Voice and having a chat with NITV.

Tony Armstrong Jack Thompson

With the date of the Voice to Parliament Referendum revealed as 14 October, the Yes campaign is in full swing. This is an opportunity we cannot let pass and is a moment for real change for First Nations people. Greens MPs were at the official announcement in Adelaide by the Prime Minister. I urge you to support the Yes campaign. You can be part of a truly historic and overdue moment of reconciliation and recognition. A successful referendum will amplify First Nations voices and the government will have a responsibility to listen and act. I am thrilled to know that tens of thousands of doors are being knocked on in WA to share the importance of the Voice with West Australians. When I speak with mob and community on the ground in WA, I hear a lot of support for the Voice. We are looking for volunteers to help raise awareness of the referendum, so please contact my office if you’d like to be involved.

Dorinda Adam MelbourneI joined Adam Bandt MP in Melbourne to walk in solidarity with Michael Long as he embarked on his 650 kilometre Long Walk to Canberra. On the 19th anniversary of his original Long Walk, the AFL legend is walking again to spread the word about the referendum on the Voice to Parliament and what a successful Yes result will mean for First Nations people. Michael was supported by a large, enthusiastic crowd at the Melbourne Town Hall, ahead of the walk that progressed through city streets.

Michael Long March

I introduced a Private Senator’s Bill (Spirit of Sea Country Bill 2023) to Parliament that is designed to ensure that Traditional Owners and knowledge holders are included in the definition of ‘relevant people’ who must be consulted with.

The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Amendment (Protecting the Spirit of Sea Country) Bill 2023 requires standards of consultation with Traditional Owners to be developed, ensures they are included as ‘relevant people’ in the consultation process and ensures that underwater cultural heritage is identified and protected under the environment plan and the offshore project proposals.

Don't destroy TiwisIt is unacceptable that fossil fuel companies can submit Environmental Plans for offshore projects without consulting Traditional Owners and it is time to change that in favour of genuine and meaningful consultation. It was wonderful to be supported by Peter Whish-Wilson and Tiwi Traditional Owner Pirrawayingi Puruntatameri, who is Mayor of Tiwi Islands, Munupi Traditional Owner and a Senior Lore Man, Therese Bourke and Antonia Burke, Community Campaigner and Indigenous Human Rights Advocate (Yanyuwa/Garrwa Traditional Owner).

Work continues on the important federal inquiry into Missing and Murdered First Nations Women and Children and during hearings we have heard harrowing stories from families. Some of the names of First Nations women who have died in custody were read out and this was a moving and poignant moment that reminded us to ‘say her name’.

Tiffany Woodley rallyIt was devastating and heartbreaking to hear at a candlelight vigil held on the steps of WA Parliament House, the raw grief and pain of the family of Tiffany Woodley. No family should endure that pain and we need the Tiffany Woodley vigilgrief and loss of First Nations families to translate into real change. I will continue to investigate the experiences of victims and families in an effort to improve how police and services respond. This inquiry which is a first of its kind in Australia is essential to bring some level of justice for those who have lost their lives, their friends and families.

Dorinda visits IndonesiaI recently visited Indonesia while on an Australian Political Exchange Council (APEC) tour, to foster relationships between our two nations. I met with Indonesian Government officials which provided an opportunity to share knowledge and culture with our near neighbours, and as Greens Tourism portfolio holder it’s beneficial to see how other nations market their country and culture as a tourist destination.

Womens Soccer World CupCheering on the formidable Matildas during the FIFA Women’s World Cup was sheer joy, especially in my role as Greens Sports spokesperson which I recently added to my portfolio responsibilities. It was a delight to be pitchside, sharing the moment watching the Tillies with my daughters who are keen fans of the incredible team.

The Matildas have made us so proud, achieving the greatest ever World Cup result for Australia, and united us in the process. We are all so proud of their efforts, their strength and determination. I have no doubt that the Tillies have inspired many young players and their legacy will be a massive boost to women’s sport. Let’s hope we soon see equal pay for sports women and sports men.

Aust Womens Soccer playersI also extend my congratulations to Sam Kerr for launching her football academy that will take a holistic approach and include nutrition, health and well-being in the program. It is so important that we invest in grassroots sport for the next generation.

The World Cup also had pride of place in Members Hall in Parliament where we were joined by former Australian World Cup Soccer players Caitlin Munoz, Peita-Claire Hepperlin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino. (You’ll notice I’m rocking the green and gold a bit in these photos!)

I attended an event hosted by the Parliamentary Friends of the AFL and had a chance to meet the all female leadership duo of the mighty North Melbourne Football Club, CEO Jennifer Watt and President Dr Sonja Hood. It was great to have another brief catch-up with the AFL’s new CEO Andrew Dillon.


Miss InformationA lovely surprise to catch up again with the world’s best drag journalist, Miss Information, in the halls of Parliament, after our recent interview. I can say that Miss Information was looking fabulous as usual (sneakers and all!).

I’ve had several media opportunities recently, including interviews on Noongar Radio, ABC Radio and ABC TV, with an interview on Afternoon Briefing about the results of a WA Coronial Inquiry into the death in custody of First Nations man Mr Blanket in the privately run Acacia Prison in 2019. This was an important opportunity to raise awareness in the national media about deaths in custody and the urgent need to fix the mental health crisis in prisons and to push the WA government to implement necessary changes. I also spoke with AAP about the Spirit of Sea Country Bill and the continuing inquiry into Murdered and Missing First Nations Women and Children. I appeared on Michelle Grattan’s podcast chatting about the Voice to Parliament and the Yes campaign. And as I’ve mentioned earlier, I was part of an ABC Radio Voice panel at Garma and an interview with Natalie Ahmat from NITV.

Until the next edition...


Header photo: Meeting with Australian Parents for Climate Action at Parliament House