Department of Health

Associate Professor Gregory Phillips on Aboriginal self-determination

  • 30 November 2017
  • Duration: 3:48
  • Greg Phillips Speaking: So I'm Gregory Phillips, I'm Waanyi from North Queensland on my Grandmother's side and Jaru form the Kimberleys on my grandfather's side and I've been very privileged to be in Victoria for about fifteen years and I just want to thank all of the elders and community members here that have taught me and have welcome me in and umm just want to give power and shout out to the local Victorian Koories for how deadly you all are.

    So self-determination is important for three reasons: one it works for all given populations around the world but particularly for Indigenous peoples the evidence is very strong that when self-determination is enabled and communities can speak for themselves and make decisions for themselves, the health and social outcomes are more likely to improve.

    So, most famously we have seen this with First Nation's Communities in British Columbia that when surveyed for all different sorts of outcomes those communities that have the strongest level of self-determination are more likely to have better health outcomes and less youth suicide for example.

    Secondly, is because Australia is a signatory to the United Nation's Declaration of the Rights to Indigenous Communities which codifies in international law self-determination.
    And thirdly, is because Aboriginal Victorians have said, 'well actually this is what matters that we are at the forefront of our business.

    So, self-determination really is the ability for communities to speak and act for themselves. Of course, Aboriginal people are not so sort of egotistical to think that we don't need help or there's not other knowledge that we can learn from but basically this land has all of the values and knowledge that we need and I see Korin Korin Balit-Djak as a chance for us in Victoria, and Koorie Victorians to go back to their own knowledge of what the land is teaching them and make health care systems based on that rather than the other way around.

    So the reason why I got involved was because I was asked to contribute something and I felt that Korin Korin Balit-Djak was a real chance to make sure that government didn't simply think that self-determination was just another policy to roll out and that it was in fact something that Aboriginal community's owned, it was based on Koorie values and that Koorie people themselves would start to have more of a leadership role in how things should roll out.

    I was really inspired and honoured really to contribute in some small way to helping Koorie Victorians realise self-determination for themselves.

    Victoria really is leading the way in Australia at the moment in terms of its discussions about Treaty; in terms of its potential to make self-determination real on Aboriginal values rather than on the states.

    You know, Koorie communities in Victoria and New South Wales have a proud and sustained history of identity and culture and have kept those values alive through the worst of the onslaught of colonisation and that in many ways actually Victoria is leading the way for what it truly means to have Aboriginal values at the front and centre of society rather than as an afterthought.

The Department of Health and Human Services invited research Fellow Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and academic Associate Professor Gregory Phillips to introduce and contextualise Aboriginal self-determination for Korin Korin Balit-Djak Aboriginal health, wellbeing and safety strategic plan 2017-2027.

Reviewed 30 November 2017


Was this page helpful?