(Left to Right) Nick Freeburn, Martin Nakata (Co-Chair), Megan Davis (Co-Chair), MaryAnn Bin-Sallik, Josephine Bourne, Tom Calma.

The Ethics Council is an oversight and advisory body to the National Board and CEO on matters of best practice, integrity and transparency. It monitors, reviews and advises the National Board on the conduct of elections and other matters. It also acts as an external body that can investigate breaches or complaints. Ethics Council members may attend meetings of the membership and the National Congress but do not vote.

Having an independent Ethics Council built in to its structure, situates Congress as a unique organisation at the cutting edge of Australian best practice in the area of corporate ethical conduct.

The Ethics Council works to embed ethical concepts and practice across all areas of the organisation, including through our Delegates, our member organisations, and general membership.

REQUIREMENT TO DISCLOSE: It is a requirement that all Delegates, Staff and Directors of the company must, as a matter of practice, declare any investigations or other matters which may be viewed as having the potential to bring the Congress into disrepute, whether substantiated or not, to the CEO.


The Congress Ethics Council wants to have a yarn with you about the ethical issues that are important to you, your family, your community or organisations.

The Council has recently finalised the development of Ethical Standards for the organisation which you can read here. They are developing a community education module on ethics, and are trialling it in a number or communities through the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014.

They have held two trial workshops in North Qld and the Torres Strait and will post details of the module’s progress soon.


The Ethics Council is made up of 6 members with a two year appointment. Current members are:

Professor Megan Davis [PhD] (Co-Chair) is Director of the Indigenous Law Centre and Professor, Faculty of Law, at the University of NSW. Megan teaches and researches primarily in the field of Indigenous legal issues in Public Law and International Law. Professor Davis is an expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and a Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court. Megan is a Cobble Cobble woman from Hervey Bay and Eagleby in Southeast Queensland

Professor Martin Nakata (Co-Chair) (B.Ed. Hons. PhD) is a Torres Strait Islander. He is currently Professor of Australian Indigenous Education and Director of Nura Gili, Centre for Indigenous programs at the University of New South Wales. He has been working in areas of Indigenous education since 1979 and continues to spend much of his time supporting Indigenous Australians to achieve university qualifications.

Dr Tom Calma is an Aboriginal elder from the Kungarakan tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja tribal group whose traditional lands are south west of Darwin and on the Coburg Peninsula in the NT. He has been involved in Indigenous affairs at all levels for over 35 years, including as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner from 2004 to 2010. He is currently the National Coordinator Tackling Indigenous Smoking, Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Advisory Group and Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia.

Ms Josephine Bourne is a mainland Torres Strait Islander with ancestry from Mabuiag, Badu, Murray and Moa Islands. She was an inaugural director of Congress and was appointed Co-Chair during the organisation’s establishment phase. Ms Bourne has made a significant contribution to various local, regional and national agencies in Indigenous education, multi-media development and youth leadership.

Mr Nick Freeburn belongs to the Bundjalung Nation and is the Principal Consultant for Neolara Consultancy. He has worked in government and non-government organisations, services and businesses for more than 27 years. Nick is a qualified chef, but instead of practising his trade, gained degrees in three areas: Indigenous Studies, Social Science and Adult Education. Nick is currently studying for his doctoral degree at Southern Cross University Business School focussing on Indigenous cross cultural training as a core business model.

Emeritus Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik Ed.D.(Harvard) is of the East Kimberley Djaru people. She was born in Broome and raised in Darwin. In 1975 she gave up a 17 year nursing career to work within Indigenous Higher Education. On her retirement in 2008, she was made an Emeritus Professor of Charles Darwin University in recognition of her 33 year academic service and contribution to the advancement of indigenous education, and commitment to promoting issues of Australian Indigenous cultures and heritage.