Monthly Archives: February 2015

National Indigenous Cancer Network



Cancer Australia is working with Menzies School of Health Research to develop a National Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework.

The Framework aims to define evidence based priorities that can be used to inform the national cancer

control agenda, and ultimately contribute to improved health and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander people with cancer and their families.

To inform the Framework, Cancer Australia is aiming to capture a wide range of perspectives from

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have been affected by cancer, including their families and

community. We also want to hear from all people who have a role in cancer control, including Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander health workers, GPs, nurses, specialists, allied health practitioners and people

who work in screening, prevention and palliative care.

There are a number of ways you can get involved and provide your important feedback:

1. an online survey; and/or
2. an online facilitated ‘yarning place’

Online survey

The online survey can be accessed from 24 February 2015 and will remain open until the 27 March 2015.

The survey will take around 15 minutes to complete.

To complete the survey, please click survey here.

Online facilitated yarning place

The online yarning place is hosted at the National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) yarning place on

the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet website.

If you have any issues with accessing the survey or online yarning place please contact Bridget Kehoe or

Brian Arley on 07 3169 4201 or email or

To find out more about this project please contact Senior Project Officer Samantha Webster at or call 02 9357 9425.

This email was sent to you because of your interest in cancer control in Australia. Please forward it to

others who may be interested in our activities. If you do not wish to receive future emails, please let us



Brian Arley, Community Engagement and Communications Officer

T: (07) 3169 4235
| F: (08) 8946 8464 | | Twitter-Iconfacebook_logo cid:image004.png@01CED652.19A66280

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PO Box 10639, Brisbane QLD 4000, Australia

Brisbane office |

Level 1, 147 Wharf Street, Spring Hill QLD 4000




In the spirit of respect, Menzies School of Health Research acknowledges the people and the Elders of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations who are the Traditional Owners of the land and seas of Australia.

The start of a new begining

I have left my job behind, no job in site but I am happy. I am studying, that will give me a few extra skills when going for a job. It also stops me being stuck in the house and becoming isolated, that would make it too easy to give in and to follow the temptation of depression. I need to be doing something for the sake of my sanity. I need to be doing something for the sake of my health as I keep reminding everyone I am not ready for the scrap heap.

I want to be a walking talking example of not giving in. Life is too short to let it go. SO hold on to it and do what you have to. I would love to have the money to live each day as if it were my last, as the signs say. But what would I do? I certainly can’t travel as that would depend on my youngest having a passport. She doesn’t and she is dependant on her father signing a form. Since I am not made of money I can only do what I can do.

I intend to do so much but mainly to work with my community and help them. So much work needs to be done and a lot of it is simple, It just takes new eyes to look at it. With so much money stripped away from health, we are looking at ways to cost cut – hell we have to. But the beauty of being Black and poor is that we can think of ways to get things done. That’s how we worked to get the services we have now. We are used to making something out of nothing.

Our health is a political football. everyone blames everyone else for it, we accept or share of it. But it’s not all our fault when we were denied the health services. But the health needs to be preventative. We need to be looking at our kids teaching them from a young age. the damage is done if we are pulling them in for a 715 health check in their 40’s. target the young encourage them to play sports and be active and eat healthy. It’s a start, a very basic start but its some where to move on from.

so here’s to good health and staying busy and not giving in to illness. God Bless the strong-willed

Cyclone Marcia

Yet again we are hit with bad weather, it amazes me how many people are surprised by it. We live in a tropical area, and cyclones and storms are part and parcel of it all.

Maybe we need to remember that, but no each year it comes as a surprise. We have people stocking up on goods, that’s okay, but why are you buying heaps of milk to put in your fridge when you have a high chance of loosing power?

At the start of the season make your kid, have food that is in tins, long life milk and bottles of water. get a little gas stove and make sure you have enough batteries to put in your radio, make sure you have packing tape for your windows. Keep your phone charged so that when the power goes off you can still use it. It’s not rocket science to just be prepared. Have all your documents in a safe place so that if you have to move out you have all those things with you. Yes you can pack up your sentimental things but just be aware you might not have room for them in your car or in the emergency venues.

At the moment I am making sure all the washing is done and in the dryer, as we have a bad storm headed our way, and I don’t want to be without power and dirty uniforms come Monday. I am ensuring that the kids are safe and the car is safe. I don’t intend to do any driving except if needed. I don’t want to be another fool on the roads, with all the flooding around the place.

So hopefully this storm will come and go and not do too much damage.

I pray for those who have faced the cyclone and I am gladdened that we had no deaths, but we still have to face the rain and the flooding and God willing no one will die, or be injured. Its bad enough that so many will be homeless. Some people in Brisbane are still waiting for repairs from the November storms, I pity them, as they will have to face it all again.

My main prayers are for the homeless who is taking care of them? who is watching over them? not all of them can get to shelters, and some don’t feel welcome at the shelters and feel the stigma of society, so they don’t enter.

Wherever they are I pray for them and hope they are safe.

Thank you

Translink is missing a link

so one thing I want the new government in Queensland to do is to look at Translink, I am sure it’s not high on their priority list but it needs to be addressed. Its disgraceful the lack of disability access on trains and buses.  Not all stations have ramps, and so if you have a wheel chair or walker well you are well and truly buggered. the steps on some are so hard that I cannot manage them and with some stations the elevators always seem to be broken.

Buses. well when the whole translink thing came in, it helped the Brisbane city people but screwed over those from Logan and the Redlands. I know people who are on a bus for over 2 hours. Out my way we used to pick up until Carindale then it was only set down. Now we get off a bus at Carindale and have to wait for another bus, so this is annoying but for some they have already had to catch two buses to get this far. Then its hit and miss as to if you can get on a bus and be buggered with the disability seating, it’s always full and mums and prams? well forget it. no room and no idea.

Out our way it can take four buses to get to where you want to get to and they try to promote it and okay its better for the environment to catch a bus. but I cannot do it. I can’t change two times and then have people get off and on at every stop, this means I have to catch a bus way too early to make up for this.

So let’s go back to the days where their were more direct buses to and from the Redlands and Logan. It’s unfair to us to be on buses for so long, yet we are not that far from the city. It’s not fair to the disabled when we have to stand or are pushed aside as there is no room and no common courtesy.

I have a daughter who when she finishes studies late at night can take up to two hours for her to get home this is unsafe for a teenage girl to have to walk  down to the Gabba and wait for a bus, then wait at Carindale for another and due to the lateness she has to then have a long walk home. In the days before translink we had buses come closer to our home but they were cut, not profitable. but what is safety worth?

And as I said earlier the main beneficiaries of the changes are those who live in the Brisbane City area.

Thank You

Sorry, if you thought I forgot “The Apology”

I didn’t forget The Apology to the Stolen Generation, I wanted to wait until I saw what the media and the public did for it. It was a bit like the report on the Closing The Gap. Just mentioned in passing by the main media. A bit of a mention because of the football. But nothing really. A lot of tweets about it and a lot of ignorance around it and some outright stupid tweets about Aboriginal people. The original speech was so heartfelt and true.

But what has happened since? Well Kevin Rudd who gave the original speech, lamented the meagre progress in Indigenous welfare.


So how does this affect us on the ground? well on the day, I had someone tell me they went to a Sorry Day morning tea. I responded, you mean anniversary of the apology, Sorry day is totally different. Then went on to explain. The response to this was “Why does it mean so much to you?” I said “Why isn’t it important to you?”. Then went on again explaining our history. the person then changed his tune and said its shocking, you are sitting here opposite me and you have been through all this. Why aren’t we told the truth in school? Well that is a damn good question. But as long as we have vocal and proud people speaking out and talking about it, we will slowly chisel away at the problem. We get told to get over it. We ask how can we when you don’t acknowledge the truth.

I have said before the problem with dealing with Aboriginal issues is like glad wrap, you can see through it but its just too hard to open it up.

So lets work together to member the stolen generations, lets work together to heal the wounds and part of that is learning the true history of this nation.

Thank you

Lets really talk about Cancer


These forums are being held around the Country, just contact the Menzies Institute for information.

Why is this so important. Well we don’t talk about Cancer, we hide it away we treat it like a shame thing. It’s not leprosy, but some people act like you can catch it from others.

We need to have an open and honest dialogue about cancer and how it affects us as a community. We have people who don’t want to talk about it, keep it hushed up until after treatment. We have those who don’t talk about a family member and they just keep it amongst the family. Some times a person needs to be pushed to interact with the rest of the world, otherwise you might as well just curl up and die.

We need to go to these forums so we can share our stories, use our words and share our grief. I am going to one and I intend to talk about the toll Cancer has had on me. It’s not just having it, coping with it, dealing with doctors, hospital medications. It’s also how it affects your family. The cost of getting to and from doctors the cost of medications that aren’t on the PBS. We need these experts to hear this. We need them to understand that we can’t afford the medications but we can’t afford the  fancy doctors to advocate for us to be on trials so we often don’t take the medications because it costs too much.

Think I’m whingeing? well I have had to look at  my income and decide, what is more important, rent and food, getting the kids things for school or paying for an excursion or sports, or pay over $800 for medications. That’s not just me. There are a lot of people out there.

Once you hear the word cancer you can go into automatic shutdown, it’s important to stop that, to talk to reach out to feel!!!!!! My kids have been through a living hell watching me die a numerous times, be revived and for a while with the medications etc., not knowing who the strange woman was. I was a complete stranger to my kids and an out right bitch. But how do you explain to kids that, that isn’t really mama. That she is tucked away somewhere under the stress duress and medications.

Keeping appointments is hard, because you just don’t want to. Hell its hard to go to appointments and be told that things are worse or just the same. If things get better that’s great. But the problems have already affected your family and your finances.

We need them to know this we need them to know that in our close knit communities that sometimes the Cancer word scares off people. Some get scared and can’t deal with it. Some just don’t know what to say so avoid you.

We need to know that some one is there, even if it’s just to drop off a stew to help the family, because that might be the only decent meal they have at the time, especially if some one is in hospital.

The experts and medical profession need to understand our beliefs and our ways. Our way isn’t your way, it might not seem the right way, but it is to us. Health professionals need to know that we use gumbi gumbi, or other bush medicines. They need to know we see our healers and that sometimes we follow the beliefs handed down from our parents or grand parents.

They need to know that sometimes what they offer isn’t culturally acceptable to us. I know they do a good job and have consultants. But sometimes what is up in the hierarchy doesn’t make its way down to the coal face.

We need to stand up and talk up big. in fact we have to yell to be heard. This is not just for our own benefit, but for the future generations. WE NEED TO STOP MAKING CANCER A TABOO

Talk about it, it’s only a word and it’s how you react to it that makes the difference. I certainly am not giving up my life to cancer, I have far too many people to annoy and piss off. and what with dying and all, the devil isn’t ready for me.

So my job is to make sure we talk about cancer, we share our stories of having it, surviving it, living with someone with it. loosing some one and just the over all effect it has on us.

I am not a cancer survivor. I am a conqueror.

Thank You

NACCHO Media Release: Aboriginal health must remain the priority to close the gap

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts

The peak Aboriginal health organisation today said Aboriginal health, commitment to programs that work, Aboriginal control and long-term funding were all necessary to close the ongoing gap between Aboriginal and other Australians.

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chairperson Matthew Cooke said closing the gap was achievable.

“Closing the gap is about generational change and there are no quick fixes,” Mr Cooke said.

“Real gains, although small, are already being made in life expectancy and other key areas like maternal and child health.

“We need to see continued, long-term commitments from all levels of government in the programs that work. In health, it’s Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services that are making the biggest inroads against the targets to close the gap.

“They are also contributing to other targets, such as in employment, as the largest employers of Aboriginal people.”

Mr Cooke said the Federal government’s focus on getting…

View original post 209 more words

Closing the Gap?

The numbers are out and they are not good. the Gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the rest of the Australian population, is not closing.


Yes there is some good news in the report we have more kids in school, but they still haven’t addressed why the kids didn’t go in the first place. Maybe it’s not just the bad home life that is the easy answer. It’s the poverty, it’s the inherent racism within the education system. It could also be a case of the system recognises other cultural diversity in schools but only pays lip service to our needs. The common one being that “you speak English, no problem”  “You live in town, so you must be like us”.

Health is too diverse a problem. We face the problems associated with poverty of not being able to afford doctors or the medications. CTG helped with that, some doctors bulk billed, making it affordable. the annotation of the scripts, meant a huge difference in getting medications. Especially with people who have chronic diseases who have to take a lot of medications.


We have already had 600 million cut from funding. This is funding that is really held up by the   bureaucracy, most of the  money goes through the departments paying wages, paying consultants before they start to trickle the money down into the Community by way of grants. Most of the time a project is funded and before you can get it up and running the money is gone and they don’t refund it. But the staff in their offices still get paid and the organisations that are dealing with the cold hard realities of the situations of Aboriginal people are left short of money, no funding. Excuse my sarcasm, but the better the program the more chance they will cut it.

It really doesn’t work in the governments favour to really help Aboriginal people. We are still at the bottom of the rung. Those who say well we need to start acting like everyone else, translates to losing our identity which is very precious to us. It is what keeps us strong. We have survived all the atrocities and are still standing.

We are not on equal footing with the rest of Australia, because we were banned from owning homes, we were kept out of the schools until the late 60’s early 70’s and we were excluded from tertiary education until the 1980’s. Yes there were exceptions to the rule but most of us were kept behind the invisible wall. the rabbit proof fence even.

So the importance of Closing the Gap cannot be under estimated and cannot be overlooked. We have done more and given more in foreign aid. We need to stop and look in our own back yard and stop and help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. When you reach out your hand, to help one up, you will feel the weight, as that one person is holding on to their family and Community. So we all go as one. We are not sheep, but our strength is in our Culture and our Identity and our families.

Lets hope that Abbott got a scare and will maybe change the way he is doing things, since he reckons he is the Prime Minister for Indigenous peoples!

Thank You


I am posting this a bit late, yesterday the 4th was Cancer day. Let’s take a look at Cancer and how it affects people. Cancer isn’t just what one person goes through, their entire family and support system are affected. People come and go and it is amazing when you say you have cancer how some people can distance themselves. Is it the possibility or facing their own mortality? Is it fear? I have had people around me telling me that they can’t cope with it. Well how the hell do you think I feel? If you can’t cope! Some distance themselves because they don’t want you to become dependant on them, they don’t want the burden of having to help you.

The support systems out there are not always catered for your needs. No insult to Cancer Council or CanTeen, but they are very White Australian centric. The minute you talk about ngangkari’s (Traditional Healers) well they don’t know what to do.  They don’t understand our need to go back to Country. They don’t understand that having to be a million miles from home can hinder your recovery. The need to be with the Land of your people or the connections you have made with other Countries. They don’t understand the need of many of us to keep our head covered until all our hair has returned, we do this to stop the evil spirits getting in.

But what is the focus of the day? Well so many people talk of breast Cancer or skin Cancer. But what about the others? More women die of ovarian Cancer each year than Breast Cancer. More men die of Prostate Cancer than women with Breast Cancer. It’s good to highlight a Cancer. But the fact that Breast Cancer is the pop star of the Cancer world I wonder if its sexism. What is a woman without her breasts? It’s something that men like and often look at. So this means other Cancers get over looked. Who cares about ovarian cancer, it’s not tangible, prostate cancer is a bit of a shame factor.


Brain Cancer is on the increase, but does it get a pop star status? No because who needs a brain? The number of young children with Brain Cancer is rising, as is the number of people in their middle age. Why are we not looking more into this? Why is it overshadowed by the big name Cancers. The brain is more important and we have to start putting our bucks into research for it.

Thank you

The first

So it’s my first week of being unemployed. It’s only Tuesday and I am already bored. Spent Monday at an interview then off to Centrelink. Oh the joys of that.  Waiting forever. As if the staff at Centrelink didn’t have enough to do they now have to help with medicare payments. I walk into the office and had to stand at the door until the Centrelink Lady called me forward, asked me what it was about and directed me to which area I had to sit. The row of self-help desks full, people sitting near waiting for their turn to go on the computer. People sitting in another area, waiting to use the self-serve phone. My God it’s awkward. It has to be so hard on the staff there to have to do so much and to deal with clients who get cranky.

Today I am having a rest day, a day of just me, sit back read to so pottering about, kill time watch some episodes of shows, gotta catch up on that!

Tomorrow will start my reign of terror. I am going through the house from top to bottom, cleaning walls, ceilings, chucking out anything that the kids don’t put away (insert evil laugh here!). Make them scared and go through all their belongings and organise. It will fill in my time and make the house feel fresh again. I will also go through the wardrobe, see what needs to be killed and what is alright. I am going to borrow a water blaster and clean the outside and the driveway, hell everything will be pristine.


I will also organise all my work things, things that I have accumulated over the years so that I am ready to take them with me when I get a new position. I am going to be totally anal and put them into categories and make sure that my resources are with the training manuals, as over the years I have had sometimes to pull things out just to get some information and then being naughty not put it back in its rightful home.

This should all take a couple of days then I will start on making more jewellery to sell at the markets. get my booking for places at different markets and start selling jewellery, clothes, odds and sods, well anything that isn’t nailed down to the ground.

I will try to catch up with some friends and enjoy their company and laugh, joke and maybe even sing. Why the hell not as it’s a brand new start and its all firsts; first day of unemployment, first visit to Centrelink, first chance to spring clean in ages, first time to catch up with some friends in years. So bring on all the firsts, including a first day at a new job.

Thank you