PARSA has begun the process of creating an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee. This decision comes after the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander officer position had been left vacant, resulting in a lack of PARSA led Reconciliation Week events. These events are reliant on a division of responsibilities between ANUSA and PARSA, of which the PARSA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Officer comprises a critical part.

The Advisory Committee has four fundamental functions; to “provide advice to the association on policies, strategies and priorities with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.” “To provide advice to the association on campaigns and advocacy.” “To ensure the inclusivity of PARSA events, communications and strategic direction.” Finally, “to support the association in enacting campaigns and running events about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.”

The PARSA Strategic Plan currently makes no specific reference to engaging with First Nations students. On review, PARSA acknowledged that some language could be improved and that they believe specific objectives promoting reconciliation would be beneficial to the plan. Describing the absence of these objectives as a “missed opportunity.” The advisory committee would have the capacity to advise the ongoing development and improvement of the Strategic Plan.

The committee comes after ANUSA Indigenous Officer Sarah Loynes indicated that she hadn’t received any communication from the ANU in relation to getting indigenous students on relevant committees. Loynes described how that was “personally very disappointing because it’s usually the only times that Indigenous peoples can get onto those committees.”

The committee will have two members of the PARSA executive, the Equity officer, Bernardo Cielo, who will act as the chair of the committee, as well as the Advocacy and Engagement officer, Terese Corkish, who will operate as secretariat. PARSA is looking to comprise the committee of 5-10 ANU postgraduate and research student members who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

PARSA will continue to only allow self-identifying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander postgraduate and research students to vote for the PARSA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Officer. If you would like to nominate for the committee, you can do so through this form. It is open to those who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

ANU’s Acton campus stands on the traditional lands of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people.