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2022 National Indigenous Stop Domestic Violence & Healing Conference



Hon. Lidia Thorpe

Greens Senator

Australian Parliament VIC

Lydia Thorpe is a Senator for Victoria, a proud Gunnai Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung woman, lifelong activist and fighter for human rights, social justice and the environment. She became the first Aboriginal person elected to Victorian parliament, as the Greens MP for Northcote. In September 2020, Lidia took her seat as Victoria's first Aboriginal Senator in the federal Parliament. Lidia was sworn in to the Senate holding a message stick burned with 441 marks, one for each death in custody since the handing down of the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991 and holding up her fist in a gesture of strength and solidarity. Lidia Thorpe grew up in the Collingwood Housing Commission flats, the granddaughter of one of the founders of the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, and she is a life-long activist. She has raised three children, is a survivor of domestic violence, and completed her university education as an adult. Her professional background includes work in public policy, advocacy, small business, government and NGOs, always with a focus on activism and social justice. Lidia lives on Wurundjeri Country in Melbourne with her partner, her youngest daughter and a rescued Neapolitan Mastiff named Chilli. 




Emma Milliss

Indigenous Programs Training Lead

eSafety Women NSW

Emma is the Indigenous Programs Training Lead for eSafety Women. She identifies as a First Nations woman and mother, with mob from the Burragorang Valley on Gundungurra Country.
Emma has a passion for changing outcomes for all First Nations peoples, particularly women and children. She has a background as a paramedic and a teacher, and is committed to using her skills and experience to help create collaborative and trauma-informed relationships that will encourage place-based changes. 





James Briggs

Family Violence Accountability Officer

Central Queensland Indigenous Development Ltd QLD


James Briggs is a proud Kamilaroi man from Moree who dedicated to the to the principles of Social Justice, Human Rights, Collective responsibility, and Respect for Diversity. Currently, James is working as the  Family Violence Accountability Officer actively co-facilitating a 16-week Indigenous Men’s Behaviour Change Rolling Program (Good Way Change) with Central Queensland Indigenous Development Ltd based in the Fraser Coast. James’ professional career has included dedicating his work to supporting Indigenous families and children that are at risk. This includes families who have been impacted by Domestic and Family Violence, Child Abuse, Inter-generational Trauma, Low socio-economic factors, and other Traumas. James is passionate about raising awareness of structural and systemic inequities and dedicated to bringing about social change and reducing barriers. He is an active community member supporting local community events and providing education and awareness of Domestic and Family Violence whenever and wherever he can.


Linnea Burdon-Smith

Aboriginal Family Violence Researcher

Boorndawan Willam Aboriginal Healing Service VIC

Linnea Burdon-Smith is currently working for Boorndawan Willam Aboriginal Healing Service (BWAHS) as an Aboriginal Family Violence Researcher. This work involves documenting and promoting the approaches used by ACCO’s, such as BWAHS, in response to Aboriginal family violence. Linnea’s work informs BWAHS’ Training and Education Team, which provides accredited and non-accredited Aboriginal Family Violence Case Management training programs. Linnea has previously worked for government oversight bodies, in the community legal sector and university sector. Linnea enjoys working on projects that prevent and respond to, individual and collective trauma. She has completed frontline work as a support worker/caseworker and worked in project officer and research officer capacities. Linnea’s experiences delivering trauma informed, holistic, culturally safe, accessible, and inclusive services inform her research. 

Hon. Cynthia Lui, MP

State Member for Cook

Queensland Parliament QLD

Cynthia Lui is a proud Iamalaig woman from the Kulkalgau Clan of Iama (Yam Island) and the Kulkalgal Tribe of the Torres Strait and was elected as the Member for Cook at the 2017 Queensland State election. Cynthia has over 12 years' experience in health, child protection and family support services throughout Far North Queensland. Cynthia's work experience has enabled her to gain local knowledge and a comprehensive understanding of the issues that affect her electorate. Cynthia believes that education is the key to success. As a parent, Cynthia knows that a quality education changes people's lives and helps build stronger communities. Cynthia's priorities include improving access to quality education and health services and supporting more local jobs to help build a stronger region for generations to come.

Michael Liddle 

C4L Founder and Manager

Aboriginal Male Cultural Lead Advisor

Desert Knowledge Australia NT

Michael Liddle is an Alyawarre man, and a strong advocate of mental health and well­being in Indigenous men. He is dedicated to the betterment of the community, specifically in the areas of health and education. Michael has a Diploma in Aboriginal Studies, and an Associate Diploma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders knowledges. Michael founded the program Codes 4 Life (C4L) while employed at Desert Knowledge Australia, to create a safe space for Aboriginal men and Elders to engage and reflect. External evaluation of the program demonstrates that the program is unique and efficient in reaching its outcomes as Codes 4 Life program reconnects Aboriginal men with their cultural identity, community, and responsibilities. The outcome of the project is to lead positive change in men's behaviour, and to empower them increasing leadership aspirations and capability. The workshop-based program aims to create a safe space for men to engage in meaningful conversations, and to prompt reflection on decisions they made, and on those they can make in their life. Depending on the cohort, and on the objective of the day-session, C4L facilitator, Michael LIDDLE, introduces several topics often sensitive, encompassing cultural practices, mental health, sexual health, family violence, children protection, intergenerational trauma, drug and alcohol. Elders are prominent assets of the program, they provide cultural authority and share stories.

Dr. Joe Stone

Indigenous Development Specialist

Senior Lecturer, Griffith University  

Assistant Professor, University of Washington 


Dr. Joseph B. Stone, PhD, is an Amskapi-pikuni ceremonialist and traditionalist and member of the OKKAN (Sundance), the Last Star Thunder Medicine Pipe and Beaver Lodge.  He is a clinical psychologist and with his partner, Amber Logan, owner of Indigenous Development Specialists of Havelock North, New Zealand.  Dr. Stone works at the Napier Family Centre in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.  He has clinical experience with adult prisoners and corrections and juvenile justice in both New Zealand and USA.  He is affiliated with the National Centre on Trauma and Project Making Medicine – Indian Health Service Assessment and Treatment of Child Abuse at Oklahoma State University. He has presented to and served as consultant to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs of Native Youth Suicide.  Joseph's publications include articles on trauma, suicide, and other cultural / behavioural issues. Joe is a Senior Lecturer at Griffith University School of Human Services & Social Work and Assistant Professor at University of Washington School of Psychosocial and Community Health. 



Aunty Jenny Springham

Healing Circle Facilitator  


Aunty Jenny is an Australian Aboriginal Elder of the Gurang clan/family with more than three decades’ experience in Governance & Management in the sectors of health & wellbeing, child & family, and education. Aunty Jenny holds a Bachelor of Arts in Adult Education & Community Development, an Associate Diploma in Aboriginal Studies and Certificate IV in Aboriginal Health. She has been a Healing Circle Work Facilitator for almost eight years, working with men and women experiencing the impacts of Lateral Violence, intergenerational trauma and substance abuse. She advocates for the rights of women with a focus on the areas of policy, decision-making and governance. As part of this commitment, Aunty Jenny sits on the Board of Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO) Indigenous Wellbeing Centre (IWC) Ltd in Central Queensland,and is a member of the IWC Cultural Advisory Council. Aunty Jenny also sits on the Elders’ Council of the Port Curtis Coral Coast (PCCC), which represents the  Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda peoples. 



Dr. Amber Logan

Indigenous Development Specialist

Health Psychologist NZ

Dr. Amber Logan is a traditional Kahungunu Māori wahine, a New Zealand Health Psychologist and a Doctoral Fellow in Public Health at Otago University.  She teaches health psychology course work at the University of Auckland and Otago University and is well-known in New Zealand for her work in Methamphetamine education and community activism.  Amber is a consummate grant writer, health services evaluator and health services program designer.  She has presented extensively in Australia, Canada, and the USA at Harvard University, the University of Washington, and to the US Federal Government under the Obama administration.









Uncle Bernie Singleton

Doctorate of Letters, Archaeology Anthropology and Health

Senior Member, Kunjur First Nations Men’s Collective

Dr. Bernie Singleton has had a career in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander affairs spanning fifty years and was Chairman of Apunipima Cape York Health Council for 13 years. Uncle Bernie grew up in Yarrabah. His paternal grandfather was a Yirrikanji man whose country runs from Cairns to Port Douglas. His paternal grandmother was an Umpila woman whose land is a part of the KULLA Land Trust and runs into the Lockhart River Land Trust. His maternal grandfather was a Blindal man (Townsville) of the Birri Gubba tribe while his maternal grandmother was a Woppaburra woman from Great Keppel Island. Uncle Bernie also has family connections all over Queensland. When Uncle Bernie was elected Chairman of Apunipima, there were only 15 employees and the organisation was on the brink of closure. His stewardship saw Apunipima scope and develop its role as a community controlled health service. One of his greatest achievements was in 2004 when he was instrumental in securing a Deed of Commitment from the Cape York Regional Health Forum to develop a community controlled health organisation in Cape York. Shortly afterward, Apunipima began to deliver Maternal and Child Health Services, Healthy Lifestyle services and medical services across 11 communities in Cape York. During his 13 year tenure as Chairman, Uncle Bernie also ensured that Apunipima was an active member of NACCHO and QAIHC, national and state peak bodies for Aboriginal and Islander health. Currently, Uncle Bernie imparts his wisdom as Senior Member of Kunjur First Nations Men’s Collective.












Eleanor Connop


Katherine Women’s Information and Legal Service (KWILS)

Eleanor Connop is a solicitor working in Katherine, NT with the Katherine Women’s Information and Legal Service (KWILS). KWILS is a community legal service that works to ensure that women in the Big Rivers Region in the NT have access to free legal advice and services. KWILS mainly assists women with Domestic Violence Orders, Child Protection Matters, Family Law and other civil matters including support with Housing, Finance and other issues that can and may arise for women in DV relationships. Eleanor’s role is specifically as an outreach solicitor, travelling to Communities within the Big Rivers Region for Bush Circuit Courts and to provide legal education to help empower women in Communities to know their legal options. Eleanor regularly travels East of Katherine to Beswick, Barunga and Borroloola Communities and has developed relationships with women and services in these Communities. She has also travelled out west to Lajamanu and Kalkarindji to speak with women about domestic violence and its impact. Eleanor has had some incredible experiences yarning with Indigenous women in Communities whilst weaving, cooking Roo tail and learning a lot about the culture and experiences of these amazing women on Country.

Joseph Oui

Mental Health Counsellor

Royal Flying Doctor Service

Joseph Oui is a recognized Mental Health Counsellor with Royal Flying Doctor Service working in remote areas in Far North Queensland. He works intensively with Indigenous men’s and women’s groups in various remote Indigenous communities. He has a Masters in Narrative Therapy degree. Joseph has been working with survivors and offenders of domestic and family violence for more than 13 years. Joseph is currently publishing his thesis ‘The Power of Outsider Witness Approaches: Working with Inmates towards Spiritual Healing and Validation’. Joseph has also developed and implemented numerous successful programs such as Indigenous Spirituality As A Theoretical Approach: Working With Survivors and Offender of Domestic and Family Violence in Community and Building Capacity of Indigenous Remote Mental Health Working with Men and Women in Community and including coordinating male perpetrator program, ‘Which Way, Proper Way’ program and ‘One Way, Prapa Way’ whilst working for Royal Flying Doctor Service and Relationships Australia in Cairns for numerous years.







Olivia Huntington


Katherine Women’s Information and Legal Service (KWILS) 

Olivia Huntington is a lawyer working in Katherine, NT with the Katherine Women’s Information and Legal Service (KWILS). KWILS is a community legal service that works to ensure women in the Big Rivers Region in the NT have access to free legal advice and services. KWILS mainly assists women with Domestic Violence Orders, Child Protection Matters, Family Law and other civil matters including support with Housing, Finance and other issues that can and may arise for women in DV relationships. Olivia’s role is as a domestic violence duty lawyer, servicing the Katherine Local Court. Olivia is available to take on urgent referrals for both applicant and defended domestic violence orders, particularly misidentified victims. Olivia also completes outreach trips with the outreach solicitor to nearby communities such as Beswick, Barunga and further east to Borroloola. Olivia has been participating in the women’s group at Beswick, learning about culture and experiences of women and being available to talk in a safe space about domestic violence if/when required.

 Thelma Schwartz

Principal Legal Officer

Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service

Thelma Schwartz is the Principal Legal Officer of QIFVLS, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisation providing legal and non-legal support services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims and survivors of family violence and sexual assault. Thelma identifies as of Torres Strait Islander heritage alongside her German/Samoan and Papua New Guinean heritage. Thelma has worked extensively with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, providing legal services and legal representation as a criminal defence solicitor with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service for over nine years, representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and young people in regional, rural and remote Far North Queensland across the Magistrates Court, Children’s Court, District Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. Thelma has experience in the intersection of justice responses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences, recently appearing as a witness before the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability in relation to the experiences of First Nations People with Disability and their families in contact with the Child Protection Systems as well as before the Commonwealth Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, Inquiry into Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Elliejean Singh 

Chief Executive Officer

Boorndawan Willam Aboriginal Healing Service VIC

Elliejean Singh is a proud Aboriginal, Torres Strait and South Sea Island woman from Far North Queensland who has been living and working on Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung country for close to 20 years. She is a proud descendant of the Kalkadoon, Olkola and the Wagedagam. Elliejean is the current CEO of Boorndawan Willam Aboriginal Healing Service. Prior to the CEO role, Elliejean was team leader at Bert Williams Aboriginal Youth Services, a program of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Ltd. (VACSAL) where she held the portfolios for Koori Youth Justice, Early School Leavers and Youth Employment program and the Aboriginal Youth Hostel for young Aboriginal men. Before her return to VACSAL, Elliejean was the Koorie Education Co-ordinator for the Hume Moreland and Northeast Melbourne Areas for 7 years and had also spent some time in the role of Koorie Education Manager for the Northwest Region of the Department of Education and Training. Prior to her role at the Department of Education and Training, Elliejean has held numerous roles across various sectors in community commencing in Family Violence specialising in Family Violence prevention education then moving into homelessness housing and Education before returning to Family Violence Sector. Elliejean is a dedicated mother of four and a high performing professional with over 16 years’ experience in cross-sectorial settings, with a variety of high-level skills obtained through current and past positions held, Elliejean is committed to maintaining and strengthening identity, culture, and social purpose for herself and all Aboriginal, Torres strait and South Sea Islander people.

Uncle Ara Harathunian

Managing Director

Kultchafi QLD


Uncle Ara Harathunian has over 40 years of professional experience in Governance Eldership/Leadership and Management in many fields of endeavour.  His interests lie in health, youth, education, Aboriginal Affairs, Mediation, Reconciliation in Action, Restorative Justice, Lateral Violence, Community Development, Workplace Dynamics, Mentoring, Research, Aboriginal Terms of Reference, Aboriginal Spirituality and Indigenous Wellbeing and Wellness Paradigms.   He is a Director on several Indigenous and non-Indigenous Boards and Chairperson of Lonweigh Aboriginal Corporation. Uncle Ara has an Armenian Heritage and has Aboriginal family connections to the Minniecon, Lingwoodock and Wenitongs and the Torres Strait through the Ghee’s and Wares and Skin connections to Wongi and Martu People of Western Australia.  He has achieved professional success in business, and community development. In his professional career, his achievements include developing and implementing a Transformational Management Model underpinned by the Cultural Philosophical Ethos Theory that was developed by his late wife, Aunty Cheri Yingaa Yavu-Kama-Harathunian, and the development of Kultchafi Cultural Responsiveness Training Package, Healing Circle Work, Gentle Footprints and Cultural Responsiveness Organisational Pulse.





Sharon Finnan-White OAM

Director & Co-Founder

Sport, Culture and Leadership Academy QLD

Sharon is a descendant of the Dunghutti, Gumbaynggirr and Biripi language groups from the mid-north coast of NSW. She was a member of the victorious Australian Netball Diamonds World Cup teams in 1991 and 1999, Commonwealth Games team in 1990 and was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to the sport of netball. Her industry experience spans over three decades, working in the private, public and community sectors, including state government, educational and financial institutions, not for profit organisations, media and sport. She is currently the co-owner and co-director of Sharoma Indigenous Corporation trading as Sport, Culture and Leadership Academy; is a member of the Netball Australia First Nations Advisory Committee, Netball Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee; and was a member of the Queensland Sports Ministers Advisory Council. Sharon made her debut as an expert commentator with Fox Netball for the Suncorp Super Netball league in 2022.




Hon. Jonty Bush, State MP
Director, Office of the Public Guardian & Strategic Support
Department of Justice and Attorney General

Jonty Bush began her career in human resources on the Sunshine Coast, working with a number of small - medium businesses over a seven-year period in areas of recruitment, training, workplace health and safety and volunteer management. Following the homicides of her sister and father, Jonty changed careers and joined the Queensland Homicide Victim Support Group (QHVSG), initially as a family support coordinator in 2004. She was appointed as Chief Executive Officer to the QHVSG in 2007 and awarded the Young Australian of the Year in 2009 recognising her work in advocacy for victims of crime in Queensland. In 2010, Jonty accepted a role in the public service with the Department of Justice and Attorney General, and additionally was selected as a Council Member in Queensland's inaugural Sentencing Advisory Council. Until elected to the seat of Cooper in 2020, Jonty remained with the department enjoying a variety of roles including the Director of the Office of the Public Guardian and Director of the Strategic Support Office.

                                                          TO BE CONTINUED ......

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