Author, union official and advocate for the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Thomas Mayor, will deliver the 21st Vincent Lingiari Memorial Lecture at Charles Darwin University (CDU).
The Lingiari lecture commemorates the historic walk-off from Wave Hill Station in 1966 by Aboriginal stockmen, station workers and their families, which planted the seeds for Aboriginal land rights in Australia.
The title of the lecture is “Walking on our land our way—The momentum for a constitutional right to be heard”.
Mr Mayor is a Kaurareg Aboriginal, and Kalkalgal, Erubamle Torres Strait Islander man who lives on Larrakia Country in Darwin. He found his voice on the wharves, advocating for fellow workers before becoming an official of the Maritime Union of Australia in 2010.
He has been a passionate campaigner for many social justice causes, most prominently in organising for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights.
In 2017, he was entrusted with the sacred Uluru Statement from the Heart canvas and tasked with building a peoples’ movement and he tirelessly took the Statement to communities across Australia, gathering the support to build the campaign.
Mr Mayor will use the lecture to pay homage to Vincent Lingiari’s character, actions and legacy.
He will discuss the Gurindji heroes of today, and how the proposal to constitutionally enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament is seen as the unfinished business following the iconic handful of sand when Gough Whitlam gave the land back to the Gurindji following their epic struggle.
“We can learn much from Vincent Lingiari’s courage and determination to both achieve self-determination and to reset the relationship with broader Australia,” Mr Mayor said.
“This lecture comes at a crucial time. The government has the co-design final report and are considering its recommendations.
“Whatever the report says, we know that in the co-design public consultations, many thousands of Australians have once again demanded that we go to a referendum so that we can accept the invitation to give us a voice. The time is right for a moment in Australia’s history that will be truly unifying.”
The lecture has been postponed. CDU will advise of a new date in due course.