The Future Of

Voice To Parliament | Cheryl Kickett - Tucker

Episode Summary

Is this Australia's pivotal moment? Join us as we discuss the upcoming referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Episode Notes

Is this Australia's pivotal moment? In this episode, host David Karsten is joined by Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker to discuss the upcoming Australian referendum on recognising the First Nations people of Australia in the constitution and the potential establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Learn more

Koya Aboriginal Corporation

Curtin’s Reconciliation Action Plan

Reconciliation Australia’s Information on the Voice to Parliament

Connect with our guests

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker AM

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker AM is a Wadjuk Noongar Aboriginal from Western Australia. She is a Research Fellow at Curtin University and Project Director at Koya Aboriginal Corporation.

Her research interests include Aboriginal identity and self-esteem of Aboriginal children, including the development of culturally appropriate instruments for racial identity and self-esteem across the lifespan.

Prof. Kickett-Tucker's Curtin Staff Profile

Prof. Kickett-Tuckers's LinkedIn

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 Behind the scenes 

Host: David Karsten

Content creator: Zoe Taylor

Producer and Recordist: Alex Foot

Social Media: Amy Hosking

Executive Producers: Anita Shore

 First Nations Acknowledgement 

Curtin University acknowledges the traditional owners of the land on which Curtin Perth is located, the Whadjuk people of the Nyungar Nation, and on Curtin Kalgoorlie, the Wongutha people of the North-Eastern Goldfields; and the First Nations peoples on all Curtin locations.


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Curtin University supports academic freedom of speech. The views expressed in The Future Of podcast may not reflect those of Curtin University.

Episode Transcription

00:00:00:06 - 00:00:31:20

David Karsten 

This is The Future Of, where experts share their vision of the future and how their work is helping shape it for the better. I'm David Karsten. In a few months’ time, Australia will vote in a referendum to recognize the First Nations people of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice in our Constitution. The opportunity to change the Constitution and recognize our First Nations voice has been described as “Australia's moment”.


00:00:32:04 - 00:00:54:15

David Karsten 

To explore this topic, I was joined by Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker. Cheryl is Wadjuk Noongar woman from Western Australia. She is a Research Fellow at Curtin University and member of the National Co-Design Group, which was tasked with developing models for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. She is also the Director of Koya Aboriginal Corporation, trading as Koorditj Institute in Midland, WA. Cheryl and I spoke about what the Voice to Parliament is and how it came about, and what it could change for First Nations people and all Australians. If you’d like to find out more about this research, you can visit the links provided in the show notes. 


00:00:55:12 - 00:01:14:19

David Karsten 

Cheryl and I spoke about what the voice to Parliament is and how it came about and what it could change for First Nations people and all Australians. If you'd like to find out more about this research, you can visit the links provided in the show notes.

 00:01:10:21 - 00:01:15:21

 First, Professor, what is the proposed voice to Parliament and how did it come about?


00:01:15:21 - 00:01:45:15

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Well, let me think about that one. I got a tap on the shoulder from Minister Ken Wyatt who is the federal minister for Indigenous Affairs for the Liberal Party. And he was pulling together people around the country and setting up council committees to help you know, research and build this voice, whatever it might be. So, I was part of the co-design committee.


00:01:46:04 - 00:02:17:03

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So, there were people right across the country and our job was to look at the remit of having a voice and what kind of structure and how should operate. And, you know, like we already knew the why, but how should it run? Who should run it? How should we organize it across the country? You know, notwithstanding all the stuff that's done before, we know there was a lot of banter in the room, good banter, because you need people from all different opinions and experiences and abilities and all that sort of and qualifications and connections, community.


00:02:17:14 - 00:02:39:13

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So, I think we did a pretty good job, you know, putting that together and we need it because people like me, despite it being qualified experience and connected to it, still not heard. That's the thing. So, I'm hoping, you know that it will allow everybody to be heard.


00:02:40:08 - 00:02:42:06

David Karsten 

So, is that what it is?


00:02:42:18 - 00:02:43:22

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

That's what it means.


00:02:44:19 - 00:02:46:03

David Karsten 

It's a means of being heard.


00:02:46:18 - 00:03:04:11

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

That's what it is. First of all, the referendum is about constitutional recognition of Aboriginal people. And the second part of that is, you know, having this voice to Parliament and I know the rhetoric has been around, it's going to be a Canberra based bunch of academics. Well, that's not true at all. That's not true at all.


00:03:04:11 - 00:03:27:22

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

The way that we had designed it was that the whole people in the regions had a local voice, then a regional voice, and then we had from that a national coalition at Parliament to be able to say to basically to have connection to the people who are writing policies and procedures. Because for the government, because there's such a disconnection of what's happening on the ground, that's the biggest problem.


00:03:28:03 - 00:03:51:18

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

There has to be communication and there is no you know; we have to go through we're an industry and Aboriginal people in this country are an industry. You know, we employ people at local government, state government, federal government. You know, we want that to change. We want to, you know, lead our own lives, you know, have an economic base, you know, a share in the wealth of this country without climate.


00:03:51:18 - 00:04:11:04

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Through all the rhetoric of local, state and federal here, we do it on our own terms and in-a-row in our own places. And government systems are very different. And so, you know, at the moment, the voice that we do have, you know, non-Aboriginal people like the ones that talk really loudly and the ones who talk a lot and they go, That's the leader.


00:04:11:09 - 00:04:30:16

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

We didn't appoint those people. The leaders used it, not us. You know what I mean? Our leaders are quiet. People who get on and work together, you know, for an outcome that's practical for their people on the community. But that connection, what's happening in community to the people that are in the power structures, the, it's, it's, it's not there.


00:04:30:20 - 00:04:48:04

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

It's, you know, if we keep doing the same thing over and over again, the closing the gap and there's 17 socio economic indicators we're all going to be going this there's still going in the wrong direction or they're plateauing over the last five years. And the definition of crazy is keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.


00:04:48:11 - 00:05:06:03

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

This is the difference it has to be now. Will it make the big difference? It's a start, you know. You know, being a human being, you either got to learn from mistakes and move on. What do you know, I stay in that status quite well. I refuse to stay in that status quo. That's why I'm fighting it.


00:05:07:01 - 00:05:08:01

David Karsten 

We have to try something.


00:05:08:01 - 00:05:24:18

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

We have to try something. You know, I know this and rhetoric out there that people say, you know, what difference is this going to? And I said, like the Anzac days, you know, Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Commission and things like that, but we have to try something out. Well, what is the alternative? Where is it? Who's got it?


00:05:25:01 - 00:05:26:06

David Karsten 

Well, if it's not working now.


00:05:26:15 - 00:05:42:03

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

It's not working now. We've got to do something. And I don't think it's going to fix everything. But it can elevate and turn up the volume on the families and communities who have never been heard. If that's what comes out of this, th4n I'm for it. Absolutely.


00:05:43:17 - 00:06:01:16

David Karsten 

You were the only WA woman appointed to this national co-design group. If it's relevant. Can you. Can you share with us what it meant to be part of this group as the only wa woman and, and, and what that actually involved? I mean, you've gone into that all to some degree.


00:06:01:16 - 00:06:25:11

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Yeah. Well, you know, it's a lot to hold on your shoulders. Right. And I maybe the minister selected me because I do have a very thick back, you know, maybe, maybe that's the reason. But I think my connection in my community being grounded, you know, I might have all these qualifications, but I am me from Midland, you know, and I had that connection with me and I love my people.


00:06:25:23 - 00:06:48:13

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

You know, one of the things I think he probably put me on and I'm on, I'm on I'm pretty sure this would be the case is the connection I have with young people and children. And I've been working with Aboriginal kids and young people forever, you know, outside of my university life. And I think maybe that was a reason and I made a lot of that, that the young people's voice must show.


00:06:48:13 - 00:07:00:13

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

I joined through this whole process. You cannot leave them out in any way old fashioned. There has to be a mechanism for young people and youth and children to be able to have a say as well.


00:07:00:13 - 00:07:14:03

David Karsten 

Professor, in terms of informing ourselves, is the release of the essays by the Australian Electoral Commission ahead of the referendum? Will it go some way to helping us become better informed about each side of the argument?


00:07:15:16 - 00:07:33:15

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

I think all bits of information are important. I haven't read those essays yet per say, but I have just had a quick look at who wrote those essays, and I would like to ask people to think about the lens on which people are giving that information back to you as a people, as a you know, as a group and as a nation.


00:07:34:23 - 00:08:02:04

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So, I know the Yes campaign, there's some fairly prominent people, Aboriginal people that are for that campaign and for the no campaign. There are judges and legal eagles. And so you go to question, I guess the source of that information where they're coming from, what is their lens, what is their life experiences? And, you know, does that shape the message that's coming out?


00:08:02:04 - 00:08:14:04

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And which one are you? You know, you got to look at both and, you know, you've got to make your decision. But it's up to people whether they really want to make an effort and find out about what this truly means for their country.


00:08:15:10 - 00:08:20:01

David Karsten 

What is the overall feeling among your community about this upcoming referendum?


00:08:20:12 - 00:08:54:23

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

I agree with you. There is not enough information. There's a lot of misinformation and even our people are caught up in that at the moment. Yeah, I you know, I reached out to a government department to get some resources to stop building the knowledge base of our young people. And it's, it's I'm still waiting. Disappointed in that. I don't think the message has been really clear for anybody, no matter what colour you are, what heritage, how old you are, what started the politics, I don't think it's been clear enough and that's a bit of a shame because we want to be proactive.


00:08:54:23 - 00:09:08:24

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

You know, if people vote no, then they've got all the information they're supposed to have. But I don't think it's enough at the moment. You know, the message is, is being construed by media and I'm concerned about that.


00:09:09:24 - 00:09:29:19

David Karsten 

Well, just on the no argument, the some of the arguments around that campaign that a voice won't deliver meaningful on the ground change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and that's sovereignty. That sovereignty and treaty should be prioritized over voice. What are your thoughts on.


00:09:29:22 - 00:09:48:06

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

I have a pretty, you know, simple personal action, right? Action for me as you go to have the voice vote, you've got to have you got to be in the team, so the rest of the players know what's going on. And then you can build, you know, the treaty and you know the other pieces that come into it, you know, the voice afterwards.


00:09:48:06 - 00:10:03:05

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

But we need to get in the space first. You can't just sit on the sidelines and say, we want this, this and this without having our people in that space in the first place. You need the worries on the inside as well as on the outside. And I mean that in a good way, not negative and destructive.


00:10:03:05 - 00:10:30:00

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

You need you know; I really struggle proud people who know the meaning of community because that's what this is really all about, is about making sure that the community have a voice and that voice is enacted. Now, that's the piece you're asking me about. That's another piece of work. I think that's going to happen. But for now, we need to get our community in that decision making sort of space, you know, getting that voice so that decision makers know what's really going on the ground because they don't.


00:10:30:03 - 00:10:30:21

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

I had no idea.


00:10:31:07 - 00:10:33:11

David Karsten 

Have to in the tent to determine the shape of the tent.


00:10:33:12 - 00:10:51:03

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And yeah, yeah, absolutely. You know, I'm going to start somewhere, and I think, you know, good to be pragmatic about it. We're going to get there first before we start doing step two and step three. You know, they are equally important, but you can't do everything when you're trying to mobilize a nation and a nation within a nation.


00:10:51:03 - 00:10:54:20

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

You know, you've got to take a step at a time.


00:10:54:20 - 00:11:07:09

David Karsten 

Look, this is this is such a big question because there are so many layers to it. But what would a yes vote actually mean for you? And what do you hope it will actually change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?


00:11:07:14 - 00:11:24:06

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Well, I will take this point as an academic at a university, right. So, the yes vote for me is I won't have to beg the governments to say that the research I'm doing is actually making a difference to the lives of Aboriginal kids in education. That will actually go well. We've got the evidence and we are listening to the voice.


00:11:25:00 - 00:11:45:00

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So, for me I'm being honest about the research that I conduct and I'm hoping that I'll have to keep continually have to prove the worth of the work that we're doing because that's what we're doing. We're constantly proving and once we train one person up in government and I bugger off the next person comes and we're going to do it over and over and over and over again.


00:11:45:00 - 00:12:08:04

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And we get worn out, you know, because they're not doing their job and they're disconnected to community and they're not listening. So having a voice and having the yes campaign and the referendum into this space, it means that they have to listen to us. You know, they've got to listen to what's going on in the community and the needs and the wants and the wishes and the challenges, but also celebrating all the good stuff.


00:12:08:10 - 00:12:29:11

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

There's a lot of good stuff going on as well. We tend to have been deficit modelling, which we as a nation want to change. You know, I work with kids who come into my school programs and they they're pigeonholed so early in their age, and they become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Well, you don't need to be that. You can be exactly what you're supposed to be.


00:12:29:22 - 00:12:35:14

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

But you have to teach kids to unlearn and get rid of that deficit modelling. And what are your strengths?


00:12:36:15 - 00:12:48:06

David Karsten 

Well, look at it. It was something we were going to look into a little bit further down the track, but it would be a perfect opportunity now just to perhaps expand a little bit on what your research area actually is.


00:12:48:06 - 00:13:11:09

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Okay. So, I've done a quite a bit of work for the last catalytic signs, but what I mean at the moment it's an Australian Research Council grant. It was the first grant of its kind at this university, so it won the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Fellowship. It was called the Discovery Indigenous Award and it was the largest amount the AEC in its history had awarded anybody.


00:13:11:09 - 00:13:41:01

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So, we've hit two sort of targets, you know, that we're not targets, but we've hit two targets. There you go. But what we're doing is we're looking at Noongar language and culture. We've so it's a five-year project and we're at the end of it. Over the first couple of years we went into community, ran a series of yachting circles with kids, schools, teachers, parents, elders about what's lacking in the school environment in terms of Noongar culture and language.


00:13:41:01 - 00:14:05:24

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

You know, the Government have a mandate cultural standards framework, it's not mandatory. Here's the problem. If my voice mattered, I would say, make it mandatory. You see, so in the case of the work that we're doing, the Moombaki Cultural Earnings Program, it's a one shire council at the moment with primary schools. And we've built a program of know our language and culture and we've got three interfaces.


00:14:05:24 - 00:14:34:07

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So, you've got your traditional classroom sort of learning via PowerPoints and slides and, but we've built our own resources, so and they're absolutely amazing. The second component is using we've got a seven, seven-week program and the second week of the program is a digital component. So, it's using iPads and doing a the Moombaki Key Quest on an iPad based on the classroom activities from the week before.


00:14:34:19 - 00:15:00:01

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Then the third part of it is a digital three-day Moombaki game quest that you learn about in language and culture in a three-day environment. And the child that what we're trying to do is alter kids’ perceptions of schools by knowing that their language and culture is a priority in the school to hopefully impact the attendance, their retention in school, and their achievement in terms of, you know, wanting to do better.


00:15:00:18 - 00:15:27:08

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

But really to get that happening, we're building their identity, self-esteem, their pride, the coping strategies for any discrimination that might come their way. And it's we're nearly at the end of it. And it's been an absolutely amazing ride. We've the kids have helped build these digital games with the undergraduates at the lab up the design and built environment here where in the School of Education come together.


00:15:27:22 - 00:15:54:14

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

We've had primarily non-Aboriginal undergraduates from lots of different countries, work with Aboriginal kids for the first time in their lives, bring community together and we've built this massive 3D game which is getting a lot of airplay and there's a lot of places that want it, but they can't have it because it's a research project and all the resources that we've built with utilize photographs and videos from the kids over the years.


00:15:54:23 - 00:16:08:13

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So, they're in the resourcing. We've got a rap song, the Moombaki rap song We've done a video to go with it and we've got an on-country camp coming up at the start of September to bring it all together.


00:16:09:04 - 00:16:19:01

David Karsten 

So, you're saying you're a few months away from completing a research project, so the data is coming together and obviously and what was what are the results revealing.


00:16:19:12 - 00:16:46:19

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Our so we're in the sort of pre-test mid test, so we've got a bit more data to collect. But kind of what I'm noticing and yeah, schools need a bit more help in regards to their cultural integrity and in doing things, you know, having a that's one thing, but you actually got to with a bit of work to do, you know, on a, you know and their resources are only two so far and they need a few more staff to be able to work and make that happen.


00:16:46:19 - 00:17:09:18

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So that's an issue for the Education Department that we need to work with to make that happen with the kids themselves. It's a mixed bag, you know, and at the moment, the attendance rates of most kids are okay. But I do know in this state that we've got the second worst Aboriginal attendance, right, for kids, according to the Closing the Gap.


00:17:10:14 - 00:17:29:19

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So again, an example of the voice is to listen to this research, the voices of the kids in the families and the teachers in the school. Some of them are Aboriginal that if this is working then they need it in their schools. I shouldn't have to go and promote it and prove it over and over again to a government department.


00:17:29:19 - 00:17:48:12

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

When the families have said this is working, you know, or in might need to be altered a little bit or whatever it might be. So, the difference for us is in you know, in academia is that, yes, you know, I believe hopefully the doors are open and people will listen to the truth because it is the truth. Why would we not say the truth is research evidence.


00:17:48:12 - 00:17:50:04

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

I like that word. It's right there.


00:17:51:05 - 00:18:03:10

David Karsten 

You talk about not being heard. And this in this context, just on that, how do you think a no vote might impact more widely on how we see ourselves and how the world sees Australia?


00:18:03:21 - 00:18:09:20

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Well, I think the world will be looking well. They're looking at us now, aren't they? You know, and it's going to be an absolute shame, to be honest.


00:18:11:04 - 00:18:11:20

David Karsten 

It's a chance.


00:18:12:14 - 00:18:34:23

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

You know, it's a moment in history as well. I take it back to the, you know, when Aboriginal people were included on the census, I think it was 67, 67. Right. So that made my husband was born either as flora or fauna, right? A year later I was born. So, I luckily made it on the census as a human being.


00:18:34:24 - 00:18:53:10

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Tick, tick. So, for me, the yes and the no vote and for I know the community that I come from, this is a moment in history. You either get on that bit on that wagon and go towards the future of humanity, or you stay behind and be judged by the rest of the world. We don't have a great track record.


00:18:53:24 - 00:19:18:12

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

You know, pickling human rights across this nation in terms of sort of third world sort of conditions for some of the people in the regions. This would just be another across a horrible cross on our record for humanity. No matter where you come from, people are people, and we must treat. And as such, you know, and this is a chance for people to stand down, go on part of the human race.


00:19:18:12 - 00:19:24:00

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And these are Aboriginal people. These are the first nations of this country. And yes, I'm going to vote yes.


00:19:24:00 - 00:19:35:19

David Karsten 

just on that. On the vote, how can Australians ensure that they're actually properly informed? We touched on this at the very beginning. Yeah. The resources to actually inform ourselves where are they.


00:19:36:15 - 00:19:54:10

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Well yeah, they found few between, but I know there's a bit of social media, they're hitting that quite a lot. But then if you don't have social media, you're in trouble. Yeah. So, you know, in research we use, you know, like a triple threat effect blocking basketball. This is what we do. We talk, you know, face to face.


00:19:54:22 - 00:20:17:02

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

We text and we email, right? So, we hit three sort of areas of communication channels. And I know other social media and others, you know, there's mainstream media, so there's five that they can tackle if they so wish to. I know there was a yes campaign, a community get together, I think it was last Sunday either. Yes, one, two, three.


00:20:17:02 - 00:20:29:12

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

That's a website people can go to. Yes. 123. com that you can go to have a look at. But that's all I know. I'm sorry. That's all I know for now.


00:20:30:21 - 00:20:36:01

David Karsten 

Some people call you professor, others call you coach. Tell us about that other hat you wear.


00:20:36:14 - 00:21:08:15

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Oh, I love that other hat. That's where the Koort which is now word for heart, comes into it. Because that's for me personally as an academic working in an institution, that's the medicine that puts the rights in the wrongs. It puts the feel, the heartbeat in the heart. You know, and you get to see change automatically in young people, you know, and families and kids.


00:21:08:15 - 00:21:32:07

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And you get to hear what's truly going on in the ground. You I'm not far from it. So, you can get caught up in situations and stay in the books and researching and stay in that space and but it is limiting. You know, you have to if you truly want to make a difference. And if the research you're supposed to, you're supposed to make a difference to the you know, to people to arm and or whatever it might be.


00:21:32:07 - 00:21:50:23

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And in my case, I'll work with young Aboriginal people and also other vulnerable groups of kids as well. And so, I can actually see a difference or they can tell me how things are really going. So, I don't lose sense of that and I stay in touch and I stay humble. You got to stay humble.


00:21:50:24 - 00:21:59:13

David Karsten 

It is in a very specific context. It's through an interest that has been with you for your entire life. Tell us about your involvement with basketball.


00:21:59:13 - 00:22:25:14

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Oh, I love basketball. The great sport. Absolutely great sport. It's team sports. Like basketball. You don't you know, when you come from a poor family. And I did. You don't need much. You don't even a pair of boots. You know, you don't even need a bucket. You just need a ball. And you can just, you know, play and you can play with one person, one against a wall, you know, practices, shooting, dribbling, passing on the wall.


00:22:25:14 - 00:22:56:08

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And then you can play with three people. Three, it doesn't matter. You can, you know, and you get even playing on hills. If you and I've had a kid do that once and, you know, just for fun, you know, but I've played ever since I was ten years of age and went through the ranks. Of course, I would have liked to have done a lot more as a player, but my mum said these words, these words, and this was at the age of 14 because I used to play for the Swan City Mustangs, or districts in those days as a junior and I was in the SBL team when I was, I think was 14,


00:22:56:11 - 00:22:58:09

Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

I sit in on the bench at 14.


00:22:58:09 - 00:22:59:06

David Karsten 

SBL being 'State Basketball League'?


00:22:59:07 - 00:23:20:07

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

State basketball league here and I used to umpire to pay for my fees and my uniform and stuff. That was the only way I could do it. And I, you know, I just volunteered anywhere I could go. I just loved the sport so much because it brought a family to me, and I become part of another larger family.


00:23:20:07 - 00:23:35:16

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And being an Aboriginal person, that sort of kinship kind of connections is really important, and I love it. You know, it. You know, you don't need to be the best player in the court, you know, two legs in a heartbeat. You're a part of the team, you know. And that's what I love about it, you know.


00:23:35:17 - 00:23:43:05

David Karsten 

Well, you are underplaying it a bit. You did say you would have liked to have taken it further and you really had the ability to do so. Can you tell us how far you got?


00:23:43:12 - 00:24:01:14

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Well, I end up playing in the WNBL with the Perth Rockets, which was the 1997. We went on this huge trip on the east coast of Australia and two weeks did our whole season in the conference league to be able to. We won there and that guy was eligibility to be a which way the Breakers within formed after that.


00:24:01:21 - 00:24:06:09

David Karsten 

So that's Perth's representative team in the National Competition sense.


00:24:06:10 - 00:24:30:11

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Right. Yeah. Like the Perth Wildcats I guess, but I'll just take a step back. But when I was 14 my mum said this, you cannot eat a basketball because that's what I was doing basically all day, all night weekends, which I'm still doing that now. So, I had to, you know, do something with my life. And I said to my mum, I'm going to go to America and play basketball.


00:24:31:07 - 00:24:55:01

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And it wasn't until seven years later that I managed to go to the US on an academic scholarship. Unfortunately, I was a postgraduate student. I wasn't allowed to play in the college system aged 16. I was given I invite to try out for the Ragin Cajuns at Louisiana State University. But at 16 I was just getting cocky, you know, and I was really firmly cemented here in Perth.


00:24:55:01 - 00:25:21:18

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And yeah, it wasn't my journey. I look back now, it wasn't my journey, the journey. I was always my journey. And anyway, I ended up going to the University of Oregon. I did a masters as Master of Science in sports psychology, but a control, development and learning on a year scholarship. I did a master's in one year and played a bit of ball over there, made a lot of friends and came home and did a stay in education.


00:25:22:07 - 00:25:27:13

Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

But I still, you know, I dabbled in the basketball and built a community program which is still running today.


00:25:27:13 - 00:25:33:05

David Karsten 

What sort of impact does that program have? Tell us a little bit more about that. What's the full name and how is it really making a difference?


00:25:33:05 - 00:25:54:04

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

It started off as cart court and hoops, which is head hop in hoops. Right. But it's now called the Koortimijt Institute Grass Grassroots Basketball Program. Could it? Which means your essence of soul. It's run through an echo and a that carries an Aboriginal community-controlled organization that my father, who's a Stolen Generation survivor, had started two decades ago, two decades ago.


00:25:54:04 - 00:25:56:11

David Karsten 

That's that must be an incredible legacy for you to carry.


00:25:56:14 - 00:26:20:01

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

It is. So, when dad you're with dad whose name is Alan Kickett it when he needed help keeping it running. I was I was I was still working and in academia, but I had a bit of time, you know, and all that doing. I was doing a bit of part time work and so I'd say to my father, you know, come in and all, you know, as a volunteer, get it all off the ground and keep it running, right?


00:26:20:07 - 00:26:42:24

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

But build on the legacy you've put forward for the demand and the changes and the need for the community at this point in time. So, and that's what we did. So, we had, I think 25 staff across two sites. Yeah. And Midland is where we hail from and we've got a site in Kwinana and but those programs, some of those programs are under threat.


00:26:43:05 - 00:27:04:07

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

He's you know, like because they've been running for so long in the government because they're doing so well, the government pulled the funding from it. So, people like me as a director, I'm a director, they're octagon, continually argue with the government to listen to my voice, to say the evidence is there. It's been operating so well. Continue to please fund this program because Aboriginal people's lives are in your hands.


00:27:05:02 - 00:27:34:12

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So, for me again, the voice, the vote of yes is very important to keep. It echoed an Aboriginal community-controlled organization for the past two decades, operating and hitting the kind of targets, you know, keeping kids alive, keeping them safe, keeping them, you know, mixing with each other. Because at the moment we've got there's a 6040 split for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal kids and I hail from 30 plus different nationalities.


00:27:34:12 - 00:27:58:05

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So, it's the harmony United Nations all together on a Saturday, basketball or whatever it might be, you know, and it's hitting a lot of winds. We're quite achievers. We don't promote it because that's our way. That's our way of doing business, you know? Yeah. But the community know the most important people are the community, hence why the voice is in port.


00:27:58:05 - 00:28:11:03

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So, this community can, can say what they need to say about what we do and what other groups like us do in the area, you know, to make sure that the policy makers are listening and keep programs going and not cut them because they're successful.


00:28:11:09 - 00:28:28:00

David Karsten 

Well, that's the odd thing, isn't it? You're looking you're meeting those nebulous sorts of concepts that we like to call Kate because, you know, you're meeting them, exceeding them, and yet you're finding yourself in a position where you have to keep on arguing your ability.


00:28:28:08 - 00:28:46:09

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Always arguing, always arguing about where the need is. It's happening now in state government with particular departments. We tell us, you cannot do this, and you cannot do that. I mean, how would you know? You don't work in the community. You don't know you're following a bunch of good guidelines that you set from a lens that's not our lens, not our lived experience.


00:28:46:09 - 00:29:08:12

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And hence, again, why the vote is important. You know, I often say to people, I have a few letters after mine, I am always saying, how many more after my name do you need until you start listening to me? It's really difficult. It is really about being a female qualified Aboriginal and I know what I know and I'm, I love my people.


00:29:08:12 - 00:29:15:23

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

I'm really connected with the passion that I have. People fear that, the government fear that, you know.


00:29:16:05 - 00:29:19:17

David Karsten 

When really, they should be embracing what you bring.


00:29:19:20 - 00:29:41:16

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

It's been really hard, to be honest, the community stuff, it's been it's always an argument, it's always a fight. It's always proving, proving, proving. Like I've reached out to people, I very profile people go, how do we do it? What is the key? How do you do it? Because we can't work it out. It's for anybody out there in TV world or radio will know.


00:29:41:16 - 00:29:43:23

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Please let me know because it's really difficult.


00:29:44:23 - 00:29:49:16

David Karsten 

Difficult to be heard to be just too well. The voice, right?


00:29:49:17 - 00:29:52:12

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Yeah. There you go.


00:29:52:12 - 00:29:57:07

David Karsten 

You have a lot of work ahead of you. It just seems to never end. But the voice it.


00:29:57:07 - 00:29:57:12

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker



00:29:57:23 - 00:30:04:23

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Does it represent a possible way of adding some edges to that square, like you say.


00:30:04:23 - 00:30:28:20

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Absolutely. Absolutely. I would say, you know, when you're driving a car and you go, you're on a journey, you can get to either a T, the station or roundabout. I see this as a roundabout because t you to say to go one way or the other way, or if you go ahead, you get into a dead end. Draw it but a roundabout this motion and you can go rent rental you get it right to get off on the on the exit that you're supposed to.


00:30:29:05 - 00:30:47:00

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

So, for me, the, the, the yes campaign is kind of that if you think of it as a journey, it's not the be all and end all. It's not going to solve everything. But it's a journey in a direction and it's okay. We go around a circle a little bit, but hopefully not for too long. Eventually we get off on the right exit and that's how I see it.


00:30:48:06 - 00:31:12:23

David Karsten 

There is always in your world, it seems for those of us listening. Something to do. A fight that needs to be fought; an argument that needs to be argued. You you're a researcher, a director, a board member, a community leader. You're a member of the Order of Australia, you're an author, you're a mum of three kids.


00:31:13:15 - 00:31:19:22

David Karsten 

What, what pushes you to be involved in so many different areas?


00:31:19:22 - 00:31:43:06

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Well, I like the spice of life. I colour outside the square. I don't colour inside it. I break a few rules and I, you know, hopefully teach kids you don't have to be what society expects you to be. You can do what you want when you want, whenever you want it. That's what lives about. Having a crack at everything, all at the variety of, you know, I feel like the spontaneity, and I believe it.


00:31:43:07 - 00:32:08:01

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

For me, it's like living and breathing. Got to do a little bit of everything. Otherwise, you know, life at best is me personally for I guess the kids in the community. You know, I one of the one of the reasons I named the Basket Program Cup Court and Hoops was to build kids so that they could see their road light, be their own beacon and light their own pathway to her too.


00:32:08:01 - 00:32:28:17

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And horizon that they can see. It's their horizon. It's their reality. The yes vote for me enables that enables us as a nation to be lit up where our own beacon and we're all going in the same direction, you know, at the same pathway and to one arise. And that's better for everybody. And that's how I see the youth vote.


00:32:28:17 - 00:32:48:13

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

You know, not everyone's going to agree with it and that's fine. Hopefully over time they're on that roundabout with us going around in circles a few and then eventually we'll come off on an exit, but then come back. I mean, get off on another exit because life is like that. You've got to taste and touch and feel and be and exist, you know?


00:32:48:13 - 00:33:10:02

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

But you're you can't exist for too long because that means you're not living, you know. So, I think for me, doing a little bit of everything, that's the living part. You can breathe. Why you are living when you're existing, you can find I don't want people to be confined families and kids all we I don't want to be the person that talks.


00:33:10:02 - 00:33:31:23

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

I want the action it has to match. So, what happens with our community is they watch our action and our body language and they measure the authenticity and integrity. And then if we don't have that, I could talk all day and listen to me. But if I match it with action and meaningful action and also show my empathy and compassion because I'm just like those kids, I'm no different.


00:33:33:10 - 00:33:57:20

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

And hopefully that will inspire people to vote yes, to listen to people like me, you know, take away all the professor titles. At the end of the day, I'm a girl from Midland, LA. My people love my community and the communities, everybody in that community, and I'll work with all that. A lot of those families from all different nationality, because we're all part of the, you know, the world of being a human being.


00:33:58:04 - 00:34:16:04

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

You know, at the end of the day, we all have to get on with each other. And I have a lot of people do ask me, you know, questions about Aboriginal people and I'm happy to talk to them about that stuff because a lot of people are too frightened to ask the question or they don't know what to say, then I wouldn't get the information from, but so if I'm having a coffee somewhere and someone might ask me, I'll talk to them.


00:34:17:00 - 00:34:19:22

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

I have that friendly nature, you know, and a lot of people are like that.


00:34:21:06 - 00:34:25:24

David Karsten 

Is it okay ahead of the referendum? Just to talk a bit more?


00:34:25:24 - 00:34:48:24

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

I think so. And even ask the questions like, you know, I get all the radio shows, get on the media and but be very careful about who's responding by just checking the kind of sort of the lens and the lived experience and, you know, and the connection that those people who are giving you information, I vaguely get in your eyes, you know, I only you know, no one can tell you your own truth.


00:34:49:08 - 00:34:51:18

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

You've got to go find it and you got to seek it out yourself.


00:34:52:14 - 00:34:58:04

David Karsten 

So, talking is one part of the equation on the other. The other part is actually thinking it through.


00:34:58:12 - 00:35:18:05

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Yeah. And can we please not be lazy Australians? Can we please be Australians who think for ourselves and not be force fed on what's been shown in mainstream media, social media? I mean, you can there's no filters. People can say whatever they want on social media, but it's their reality, right? Whether it's right or wrong, that's up to them.


00:35:18:17 - 00:35:40:05

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

But you as a person, surely, you know, you got to question what you're saying and how does it make you feel and truly in your heart, is it the right thing to do? And it is the world is watching us, your family, your children, your grandchildren are going to be judging you in future years to come because eventually it'll get this will get done.


00:35:40:06 - 00:35:42:15

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

It will get done. It will get done.


00:35:43:17 - 00:35:53:22

David Karsten 

Cheryl, at such a critical juncture in history ahead of this referendum, it's been an absolute pleasure to listen to you. And thank you very much for talking to us today.


00:35:53:22 - 00:35:58:20

Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

Thank you for having me on the on the show.


00:35:58:20 - 00:36:12:14

David Karsten 

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