AIPA in Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter

14 Jun 2020

AIPA in Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter

 AIPA Media Release

AIPA in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter

14 June 2020

The Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) stands against racism. We support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations across Australia and add voice to what has become a call for reform to our lawmakers and to those who administer the law. The loss of trust in “justice for all” has been a clear message from those who have been marching on the streets.

Australia has a devastating colonial history of treatment of its Indigenous people. The scars of past trauma run deep and across many generations, and there is clear evidence that mental health problems continue at a greater rate than within the general population.  

The outrage at the murder of George Floyd and ongoing racist murders in the USA has a parallel in Australia. Furthermore, overseas events have been a potent trigger for many people in this country who suffer racism on a daily basis. Experiences of racism is historical and remains the realities for many Indigenous peoples.

Many people may carry trauma memories from the past and may be struggling from day to day simply trying to go about the daily tasks of living, and the graphic visions on TV and in social media of trauma can reactivate trauma.

Closing the Gap in health between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in this country is also about closing a mental health gap.

Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association chairperson, Tania Dalton says that the Boatshed Racism Roundtable Declaration, produced by a group of leading researchers and academics, to which our association was a signatory in 2009 offers a way forward still has relevance. It proposes four areas of action:

  1. Constitutional – that the Constitution recognises the rights of First Nations peoples with agreement and a framework for co-operative action between government and Indigenous Australians to be formalised by treaty. Also, it is essential that this recognition enshrines protection against racial discrimination.
  2. Policy – that policies impacting Indigenous people be formulated with their full engagement and involvement to ensure appropriate agendas and levels of resourcing are applied.
  3. Practice – that there be genuine partnerships with governments to improved capacity building and ensure positive outcomes.
  4. Standards – that all actions are based on the articles of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In echoing the words of this declaration, Pete Smith (Board Director of AIPA) said that this way forward not only enhances the lives and the wellbeing of Indigenous people, but it enhances all of us who live in Australia.

Available for media: Ms Tania Dalton, Pete Smith and Tanja Hirvonen



Support Numbers:

NACCHO - online list of indigenous health services and contact details (google NACCHO, click members menu tab)

Beyond Blue - Free, confidential - speak to a mental health professional (phone 1300 22 46 36)

Lifeline - Free, confidential 24-hour crisis support telephone service. (Phone 13 11 14)

Kids Helpline - Free, confidential support line for young people aged 5 - 25 (Phone 1800 551 800)

e-headspace - Free, confidential online support for young people (Google eheadspace)

1800-respect - Free, confidential 24/7 support - assault, family violence, abuse (Phone 1800 737 732)


The Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) is the national body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists in Australia.  Visit our website: