Uncle Andrew Gardiner is a proud Wurundjeri clansman of the Woi-wurrung people and an Aboriginal Muslim Australian. Uncle Andrew’s working life has been in the service of Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal community control and self-determination. Uncle Andrew has been appointed as the interim Elders’ Voice co-chair. In this three-month role, Uncle Andrew will hold community consultation sessions with Elders across the state to establish a permanent Elders Voice, with the objective of ensuring the treaty process is grounded in Aboriginal perspective. Uncle Andrew said these consultations will be run with the themes of respect, connectedness, knowledge base and lore of the land. Uncle is a guest on Big Brekkie with Gman.
“Our permanent Elders’ Voice is something our community has been calling for since the beginning of the treaty process. It has always been a priority of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria,” he said. “Today marks an historic day for Victoria’s path to treaty and I am proud to stand alongside Aunty Charmaine [Clarke] and help drive this important discussion.”
The Aboriginal Treaty Working Group was established by the state government in 2016 to consult with Aboriginal Victorians. The aim of the treaty process is to recognise and celebrate the unique status, rights and history of Aboriginal people. The interim Elders’ Voice will hold community consultations with Elders across Victoria for the next three months to establish the permanent Elders’ Voice.
• The Assembly has today announced its interim Elders’ Voice, a model which will provide guidance from Aboriginal Victorian Elders and Traditional Owners on Victoria’s historic path to Treaty and truth • The interim Elders’ Voice will operate for the next three months and will primarily be responsible for developing the permanent Elders’ Voice through community consultation • Respected Elders and Assembly Members Aunty Charmaine Clarke and Uncle Andrew Gardiner have been appointed as the interim Elders’ Voice Co-Chairs • The Co-Chairs will attend consultation sessions across the State and encourage Elders in all regions to attend • The format and structure of the permanent Elders’ Voice will be designed and led entirely by Elders to ensure self-determination for Aboriginal Elders • The Interim Elders’ Voice will begin community consultations across the State from early August • For more information on the interim Elders’ Voice please visit: https://www.firstpeoplesvic.org/our-work/elders-voice/
• Aunty Charmaine Clarke, Gunditjmara Elder and Co-Chair of the interim Elders’ Voice • Uncle Andrew Gardiner, Wurundjeri / Woi Wurrung Elder and Co-Chair of the interim
Please see attached for media release and images of the Co-Chairs. If you are interested in speaking to the Co-Chairs please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Respected Elders and Assembly Members Aunty Charmaine Clarke and Uncle Andrew Gardiner have been appointed as the interim Elders’ Voice Co-Chairs. The Co-Chairs will personally attend consultation sessions and support Elders in the development of the permanent Elders’ Voice, which will inform and guide the work of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria. Aunty Charmaine Clarke, a proud Gunditjmara woman, celebrated the introduction of the model and spoke positively about the knowledge Elders can bring to the Treaty negotiation process. “The strength of Aboriginal Elders, and their long fight for justice, has brought us to this point in our State’s history. We are grateful to receive our Elders’ direction on our historic path towards Treaty, and we will listen to the collective wisdom and knowledge they share to inform our journey,”
Uncle Andrew has held numerous positions across a range of organisations including; Victorian Aboriginal Hostels Limited (1982- 1989), Dandenong & District Aborigines Co-operative Society Limited (1989-1990), Aboriginal Affairs Victoria (1990-1997), Department of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Policy (Queensland 1998 – 2001), Centrelink (Queensland 2001 – 2005), Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operative (DDACL) (2006 – 2009 Manager, 2009 – 2021 CEO), and most recently (March 2021), Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Corporation (Traditional Owner Treaty Engagement Officer). Uncle Andrew has held (or currently holds) numerous Board and Committee positions including, but not limited to, Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Corporation (Board member, 2006 – current),
Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency [Board member, 2007 -2008], Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (Board member, 2008 – 2016), Southern Melbourne Koolin Balit Aboriginal Health Committee (2012 – 2016), Community Advisory Committee of Ambulance Victoria (2016 – current), Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (Board member, 2018 – 2019 – current). Uncle Andrew was a member of the Whittlesea Reconciliation Group (2018 – 2021). In December 2019, Uncle Andrew was elected to the First Peoples Assembly Victoria to represent the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people in one of the 10 reserved seats allocated for Traditional Owner groups.