Flag raising ceremony promotes inclusion and understanding

Police Liaison Officer Michael Bong, Aboriginal flag raiser Charmaine Davis, Inspector Elizabeth Burns-Hutchison, Tores Strait Islander flag raiser Chantal Nagas and Police Liaison Officer Glenn Guivarra.

There was a winter chill in the air but plenty of warmth among attendees when Ipswich District Police held their annual NAIDOC Week flag raising ceremony at Yamanto on Monday.

The ceremony promotes inclusion and understanding, bringing together a wide cross section of community leaders to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The theme for NAIDOC Week 2018 is ‘Because of Her, We Can’.

In keeping with the theme, there was a heavy focus throughout this year’s ceremony on celebrating the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Aunty Lilly Davidson provided the Welcome to Country and Aunty Ruth Moffatt addressed those present, touching on the impact of being taken from her mother at age five and her life in Ipswich.

Queensland Police administration officer Charmaine Davis, community engagement worker Chantal Nagas and Inspector Elizabeth Burns-Hutchinson had the honour of raising the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian flags.

“I was very honoured to be invited to raise the flag, especially given the theme for NAIDOC Week this year,” Ms Davis said.

“I hope it helps women know that the sky is the limit and that they can do anything because of the strength of the leaders of the past and present.”

State Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard spoke on this year’s NAIDOC Week theme.

“We are so fortunate in this country to have two of the oldest living cultures here and I really want to honour that,” she said.

“It reminds us every year of how important relationships are and how historically they haven’t always been so great and it’s absolutely crucial to this community.

“This year’s theme I think is fantastic, I love it, ‘because of her we can’, it says it all really and when we are talking about things that are crucial for our community I think positive female role models, particularly indigenous female role models, are absolutely crucial to our community.

“(They are crucial) not just for young women but for young men as well who draw so much wisdom from their mothers and their grandmothers and their sisters and their aunties and all of the people who guide them throughout their lives.”

Queensland Police Superintendent Brian Huxley lauded community leaders for supporting the ceremony and praised the role Police Liaison Officers play in the community.

“Queensland Police Service has a long and proud history of community engagement with collaborative and productive partnerships, however we do recognise that there are still some challenges in front of us,” he said.

“Introduction of the police liaison officer has been critical to assist in developing trust and understanding between members of the Queensland Police and local communities.

“By liaising with local indigenous communities they assist police to communicate effectively with members of the local community by providing advice on customs and protocols and the like, maintaining contact with community leaders and participating in meetings and the like.

“It shows an enormous amount of respect from the various communities represented here for you to come along to the police station for this ceremony today.”

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