CONGRESS NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The second Congress elected board took office on 19 August 2013.
Click here to download Congress fact sheet.
Kirstie Parker, Co-Chair Kirstie Parker is a Yuwallarai Aboriginal woman from northwest NSW, and Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. She has more than 25 years experience in mainstream and Indigenous print and radio journalism, communications, and management of Indigenous organisations. From 2006 until her election to Congress, Kirstie was Editor (and sometime Managing Editor) of the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander newspaper, the Koori Mail. She is also currently a director of Reconciliation Australia, a board member of the Australian Indigenous Communications Association (AICA), and a member of the Deadly Awards Executive Academy.
Les Malezer, Co-Chair Les Malezer is from the Butchulla/Gubbi Gubbi peoples in southeast Queensland and Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. He has decades of extensive experience in campaigning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and has represented community interests at local, state, national and international levels. In 2008 he won the Australian Human Rights Award, and his contribution to coordinating Indigenous Peoples’ advocacy for the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly is well known and respected.
Venessa Curnow Venessa Curnow is an Ait Koedal and Sumu woman, tracing her ancestry from Saibai Island in the Torres Strait and Keith in South Australia. She has over 19 years extensive work experience, including 9 years of strategic industry development at the national level and 7 years’ experience in Queensland state-wide development. She started as a practitioner, going on to management, training, mentoring, consultancy, research, lobbying, governance and development. She has been involved mostly in health and aged care industry holding various positions as a registered nurse, clinical nurse and consultant in urban, rural and remote areas. She is member of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dementia Advisory Group (NATSIDAG) and Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency.
Rod Little Rod Little is from the Amangu and Wajuk peoples of Geraldton and Perth areas of WA but is a long time resident of Canberra. Currently a Director of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Rod has a long employment history in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs holding senior leadership positions across several social policy areas in the Australian Public Service for 15 years. He recently worked for Principals Australia Inc, on its Dare to Lead project which works to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student education outcomes through leadership.He is currently Chairperson of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, Vice President of the ACT Council of Social Services and a board member of the Winnunga Aboriginal Medical Services. He is also a member of the ACT Local Hospital Network and the ACT Circle Sentencing panel.
Mark McMillan Mark McMillan is a Wiradjuri man from Trangie, NSW and a Director of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. He joined the faculty of Melbourne Law School as a Senior Lecturer in 2011 – being the first Indigenous Australian appointed to the faculty. His research interests are in the area of human rights and in particular, the expression, and fulfilment of those rights for Indigenous Australians. He teaches in the areas of Public Law and International Human Rights Law for Indigenous Peoples. He is currently working on ARC grants and projects relating to Indigenous nation building; Reconciliation; and Structural Justice. Mark is a board member of the Trangie Local Aboriginal Land Council; Annecto; and is a member and Node Leader of the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network.
Gerry Moore Gerry Moore is from the Yuin nation from the South Coast of NSW and a Director of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. For thirty years Gerry has worked in areas that have serviced the needs of our peoples most recently as CEO of the NSW/ACT Aboriginal Legal Service and as Managing Director of Habitat Personnel, an organisation promoting Aboriginal employment in the wider community. He is a former National ATSIC Commissioner and Regional Councillor and has chaired many organisations including the Nowra Local Aboriginal Land Council and the South Coast Aboriginal Medical Service.
Tammy Solonec Tammy Solonec is a Nyikina woman from Derby and mother of two children. Throughout her career, Tammy has been involved in advocating for Indigenous peoples on local, state, national and international levels, including at the United Nations. She studied law at the University of WA, and completed her legal qualifications through the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA, where she worked for four years including as Managing Solicitor of the Law and Advocacy Unit. Tammy was awarded Young Female Lawyer and Lawyer of the Year for WA in 2012. She is currently a Director of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, the Secretary of NAIDOC Perth, a member of the National NAIDOC Committee and the WA Aboriginal Lawyers Committee.
Daphne Yarram Daphne Yarram is a proud Noongar woman, born at Gnowangerup in South-West WA. Now living in Sale in Victoria, she has been involved in Aboriginal Affairs in Victoria since she was sixteen years of age. She is passionate about raising the profile of rural communities and has worked hard to ensure that Aboriginal individuals, families and communities are supported and encouraged to develop local solutions to respond to issues that impact on their daily lives. Some of the organisations she has worked with include: the Victorian Indigenous Leadership Network, Sale Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation, Gippsland Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee, Premiers Aboriginal Advisory Council, and the Indigenous Family Violence Partnership Forum. She continues to promote and support the establishment of Aboriginal owned and run businesses for self-sufficiency, autonomy and strong economic bases.
- National Board Communique, Board Meeting #7, July 2012, Hobart
- National Board Communique, Board Meeting #6, May-June 2012, Brisbane and Townsvile
- National Board Communique, Board Meeting #5, February 2012, Canberra
- National Board Communique, Board Meeting #4, December 2011, Adelaide
- National Board Communique, Board Meeting #3, October 2011, Sydney
- National Board Communique, Board Meeting #2, August 2011, Canberra
FIRRST ELECTED BOARD 2011-2013
The first National Congress elected board took office on 8 July 2011.
The first Congress National Board was responsible for incorporating the company, finalising its constitution, finding permanent offices, recruiting the CEO, driving membership, establishing processes, policies and operations for the company and the annual forum.