SEARCH Members’ National Forum – 2017
Respecting our past – shaping our future
The first ever SEARCH National Forum held over the weekend of 16th and 17th September 2017 brought together nearly 100 members from around Australia to discuss the current major challenges facing the Left and to chart future directions for our Foundation. The Forum was a great success, meeting a longstanding need to provide members with the opportunity to hear presentations on current national and global politics, discuss issues at length in workshops, and meet other members.
Highlights included inspiring keynote addresses by Indigenous leader, Thomas Mayor, about the Uluru Statement from the Heart issued by the May meeting of Indigenous people at Uluru and Lock the Gate environmental leader and SEARCH member, Drew Hutton, about grassroots campaigning and building broad alliances. Members and invited guests spoke on plenary panels and at workshops on a wide range of current issues and campaigns.
The Forum was marked by an overwhelming sense of unity with constructive dialogue amongst members whether they were from the Labor Left, Greens, other parties or no party, and progressive movements. It was also great to see the enthusiastic participation of a new generation of activists from our Young Members Committee.
Substantive agreement was reached at the Forum about initiatives that SEARCH could take around key issues and how SEARCH can best make a difference. A report for members about the Forum’s outcomes and proposals for future directions for SEARCH is currently being finalised and will be sent to members soon.
Date: 16 – 17 September 2017
Venue: NSW Teachers Federation, 23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills NSW.
Two leading Indigenous activists, Jackie Huggins and Thomas Mayor, will take part in our National Forum. Jackie and Thomas add to a wide range of speakers and presenters who will contribute to discussions at the forum.
SEARCH member Drew Hutton, the former President of the Lock the Gate movement, will be a keynote speaker. Drew will open the Sunday morning session with a speech outlining the organising experiences of that movement, which has become a powerful people’s alliance against fossil fuel corporations. This will be followed by a panel discussion on activist experiences in a range of campaigns and movements.
Here is the final SEARCH Members’ National Forum Program
Jackie Huggins is a lifelong Aboriginal activist who is the co-chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. Among many other roles, she is a former co-chair of Reconciliation Australia. Thomas Mayor is a Torres Strait Islander activist and is the Northern Territory Branch Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).
Both have been involved in the campaign around the Uluru Statement from the Heart, adopted by hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activists at Uluru in late May.
Thomas will present the opening address to the Forum on Saturday morning, 16 September. Jackie will be one of the panelists in the opening session on Sunday morning, 17 September. Both will take part in the workshop on Indigenous issues on Sunday morning.