Who looks after the carers?

Menzies School of Health Research is doing a study on carers of Indigenous people with cancer.  Most of the carers are family members, and are so important to the well being and recovery of people with cancer, but who takes care of the carers?

Who is there to help them and what do they need to make it easier on them emotionally? This study is probably the first one that has looked at the carers and how they are doing.

I advise all those who have or had cancer and their carers to contact Menzies and join in this study.



Best care is respect for culture

Why would a nurse not want to give the best possible care to a patient in their care? I’ve been wondering about this since a nurses group have said that cultural safety is anti white.  The code, released this week, is basically standardising the codes of practice used around the country already. It is saying that instead of just a suggestion that it should be standard. No problem one would think, surely it makes sense to respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customs and beliefs? It’s no different to respecting the cultural mores of the Muslim and Jewish people. It’s no different to respecting the rules of the Seventh Day Adventist or the Mormon faith.

Nurses respect people from other countries and if they need interpreters they call for them to ask a patient what is needed, what can be done to help them. Surely any reasonable person can see that. But no, the NPAQ have painted this as a racism issue. This group, that I must emphasise is not a union, claimed that nurses would have to apologise for their white privilege to any Indigenous patient.  They claim nurses will leave the profession. If this means a nurse quits, well then, good. We don’t want racist nurses being in charge of our pain relief.

Racism isn’t just a mental health problem, it’s a physical one. How do you heal if you are not getting pain relief, because a nurse or doctor thinks you are a drug addict. The is just one issue, imagine being completely ignored by the nurse because of your race, it happens too often. My people face racism all the time, but when in hospital you are not up to fighting for your basic humanity to be recognised.

Cultural Safety is not a white against black issue, it certainly isn’t anti-white by any stretch, I don’t know how a person can turn a matter of simple respect into a racist question.  A group like the NPAQ is another loud voice that encourages racism, that encourages the lies and stereotypes that my people have been fighting against since Cook landed.


Read the full Code and you will see that, the NPAQ is lying to gain members, pitting black against white.


I had a nurse ask me on Monday, if i wanted an apology before she gives care and she admitted she didn’t know much about it, just that Peta Credlin was talking about it. I wouldn’t trust anything Peta says about nursing, she isn’t a nurse, I recommended the questioner read a brilliant article by Janine Mohamed for IndigenousX. She read it and came back and said it was a lot of fuss about nothing. Why wouldn’t a nurse want to do all they can to help a patient.


As a patient, I want my nurses and doctors to be respectful of my culture and my illness. Racism affects mental health and physical health, how to you heal from a surgery if you are writhing in agony because a medical professional won’t give you pain relief, because they believe Aboriginal people have a different pain threshold.  How do you sleep in a hospital when you can hear nurses saying racist things about Indigenous people. How do you get treatment when you are fobbed off as a drug user. Racism is a huge problem and if we have Cultural Safety written into codes it not only benefits Indigenous Peoples wellness, it breaks down the barriers. A bit of understanding of original culture of this land is something that should be standard and should start from school and continue through life.

I have simplified the issues here, but I am more focused on the patient who has to fight for their dignity.

We Had Feminism Long Before White People Came

I Can and I Did.

I was at the ‘Black Bold and Beautiful’ yesterday, surrounded by incredible Indigenous women. Women who have worked hard to get to where they are today. Women who lived under the mission regime, women who survived and thrived from the forceful removal and government regulations.

These women and my Elders are keeping our Culture alive. In our Culture women weren’t second class citizens. Aboriginal women were equal to men. Our women were the keepers of women’s knowledge. This knowledge was not just being in charge of children and the house. Women ran the community. Our female Elders were power keepers, they were not inferior, they stood side by side with our male Elders.

The patriarchal system came to this country with white people. The Europeans that came here were male dominated, women were Chattels not equals. Our way of life was diminished. White men would not deal with our women, to them women being leaders was an alien thought. They treated our Elders with disdain, they looked upon our women as sexual objects and as house slaves.

No respect was given to our women by the invaders. They pushed their system on us, with guns and bibles, they did this so well that we started to believe some of their lies and our women started to be treated bad by our own men. Our men who were supposed to respect us and treat us as equals saw us as objects. Our Women’s business was stopped and shunned, our privacy and our bodies and their functions became something that men interfered with.

Yes our men were treated bad by the invaders and had their humanity striped away, but the invaders taught our men to treat our women as even less than themselves. White men treated women as property and that was taught to our men to do to us.  The bible was used to teach us that women held all evil, that we are to suffer for Eve’s sin for eternity. This goes against our beliefs, that we are equal and men and women are responsible for keeping our society running.

Many of our ways became hidden and passed down in secret, turning much into a shame factor. I grew up with very strong women leading my family. My mother and Aunties were the head of our mob. Their word was law.  Not one of my male relations was held up as being better or separate from the females, they all, from uncles to sons and nephews had to do the so-called women’s work.

As we are gaining more confidence in ourselves after being kept down, we are bringing our hidden culture out of the dark and to the forefront of our lives, we are not just running feminist households, raising boys to treat women with respect, but to treat them as equals, we are bringing it to our organisations. We are fighting against the white belief that men should be running our organisations.

Our women are strong, but we had forgotten how strong we are. Our women were feminists long before the bra burning. We were the original feminists. Our women stood side by side with our men as equals. Our women are the backbone of our spirituality and our society.


Black Bold and Beautiful

I’m Black Bold and Beautiful, I have the proof.

Black Bold and Beautiful is a women’s lunch held every year to celebrate Indigenous women in  the greater Brisbane area. It’s a great day, with wonderful speakers, all women who talk about what they have done, what they have faced and how they keep going.

Part of the event is a calendar, the women on the calendar are voted by the Community, they chose who they think are brilliant women, who are out there working tirelessly without waiting for a thank you.  These are not the highfalutin women, the ones that are always appearing in the media, these the the local heroes the women who are working at grassroots level.

I am honored and humbled to be the first woman to be in two calendars. I was nominated for doing the unpaid work that I do, things like this blog, giving Indigenous people a voice to share their story. I help my people by linking them with organisations, helping people around the country. I have been blessed that other people have joined me and I can call on others to help someone on their cancer journey to find services.

I started doing what I was doing, because nobody is there to help Indigenous people. Things are slowly changing in some places, but we are still left out of the equation. We have to turn to each other to help each other. I am doing a job that should be paid for, the role that I have as confidante, I help families access food, help with electricity bills, find ways that they can help pay their medical bills.

I am as I said, both honored and humbled that my Community see what I do as important.

The calendar is filled with 12 wonderful women. I will mention some of them over the next few weeks

“Respectful Debate?!”

If you need anymore proof that my people are resilient and strong, look at the past few days.

I have seen a woman speak metaphorically and some media take it literally. This is a choice to do a news story accurately or to lie and make it sensational. It’s a common ploy for the media to portray Aboriginal people in a bad light. It’s done too often portraying any people other than white as barbaric in australia.

Social media has gone over board attacking Indigenous people many trolls going out of there way to target Indigenous peoples accounts. Some will engage in a ‘respectful debate’ many/most don’t. I have engaged with some who ask for proof of things, show it to them, and they deny it is accurate. You just can’t win with some bigots, they are so set in their mind that they are right.

People who are supposed to be allies can show their true colours. They support Aboriginal people, but think we should work within the system to bring it down, be a part of australia day and at all events talk about changing the date. It’s less threatening. These kind of allies we can live without. One thing that really annoyed me was the ally who tweets about Invasion Day and at the end #hashtags other causes. Can you not just show support on this one issue? The same people don’t #hashtag Indigenous issues on their other causes.

I could go on about the social media etiquette or lack of over the past few days, but I will refrain and get back to the horrid actions of bigots. For the past few days I have been hosting a RoCur account and have been horrified at the hate from bigots.  What horrifies me more is that twitter doesn’t take it seriously.  I have with the help of a lot of people make twitter look at two accounts and shut them down.

I could hope that other accounts got shut down, but they didn’t. Two or three had comments taken down, I guess it’s a start and any win is still a win. I went through the comments on this account this morning before   writing, I was going to share a couple of screen shots, but the comments had gone.

For some bigots when they realise they don’t have a leg to stand on, they turn to personal insults. Over the past few days, I’ve had white bigots, all I might ad don’t have a real name on their account and of course no picture of themselves. These faceless cowards have called me abo, and I was called a fat gin.  One tweet said that because I’m fat I have cancer. The reply to that was, I hope you die soon black bitch.

Yeah that’s ‘respectful debate’ I guess if you have nothing to back up your argument.  I hope the reason the worst of the comment disappearing is because Twitter finally realised they should breach the guidelines.

If I got these comments imagine how bad the comments directed to the women in Melbourne, the organisers of the the rally that have about 60 -70 thousand people.

What will it take for Twitter and Facebook to look at the racial hate against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?

That Time of The Year

It’s that time of the year that white australians tell Aboriginal people that they should be grateful for the white man coming. I’m sick of it, each year the vitriol gets worse and you can’t escape it.  Allies tend to show their true colours, yep they’re not real allies after all. They might call for us to get Land Rights, or an apology, but ask them to give up a boozy week-end and they tell us it’s time for healing and for us to move on. Why the hell can’t the white people move on?

Honestly, just stop and think what is expected of Aboriginal people at this time of year, we are asked to attend re-enactments of our people being killed. We are expected to welcome invaders into our lands. This is all traumatic and white australia wouldn’t expect this from other white people.  It’s akin to asking Jewish families to forget the holocaust. Expecting the children of those murdered to stand in Auschwitz with open arms and welcome people into the place and take selfies, while they drink too much and have a Bar B Que.

We have the scares of our mothers and grand mothers, raped as they were forced into servitude as domestics or cattle and farm hands. We bear the scares of birthing children who were taken away from us and sent to institutions and homes where they were abused physically and psychologically.  We carry the shame of our men feeling they could not protect us as they were beaten and made into slaves. We shed the tears of our Ancestors who cried as they saw their culture and people dying off and a strange new reality become this country.

The 26th of January isn’t sacrosanct when you consider that australia day has been celebrated on the  30th of July, and each state or territory choosing a different day to celebrate.  In 1935 the country as a whole changed the date to 26th of January. the 26th is a celebration of a colony of prisoners rather than that of a nation, it wasn’t the date of a unified country.

Celebrating this day with faux patriotism is a new invention, started in the 1990’s, coincidentally  it’s also the era of the rise of white supremacy becoming more acceptable.  As a child I remember australia day  as a long week-end  after the 26th. How was it celebrated? Did flags wave? Were their patriotic street parades and parties? Nope, many people went camping or had a 3 day binge.  Nothing speaks aussie pride than being so drunk you piss your pants.

So why disagree with a date change that has been done before? The people who don’t want to see the date changed are the same ones who used to get drunk over the three-day long week-end. Are they not the same people who disagreed when things changed and you had to celebrate on the day? No more long week ends.

I guess this love of a booze up to celebrate rape and pillage comes from the convict past of the white australians, the troopers were just as bad if not worse than the criminals they watched over. This country had a rebellion over rum. Why not celebrate your boozing with a rum rebellion day on the 26th then you can justify getting drunk.  That will leave the door open to a respectful debate over changing the date of australia day.






Keep your Cool

As we suffer through another extra hot summer, electricity bills rise as people are running fans or air conditioners. But let’s spare a thought for those who can’t afford expensive air conditioners.  How is it that the richer person can afford solar panels to cut their electricity and the poor renter or housing commission resident doesn’t? It seems to me like the government penalises people for being poor.

I think the government should install solar panels on all social housing homes, units etc. This not only helps the government, the environment but it helps those who struggle to pay the bills a little respite. All those homes should have solar water and the panels to put the excess power back into the grid, think of the difference that will make.

All landlords, should be made to ensure that the homes they rent out are suitable for the extremes of winter and summer. Make sure there is a shade or cover just off the house, this enables people to sit outside in the cool and a cool space for kids to play, it allows for the house to cool a bit. Too many homes are built without taking into account the climate. The reason so many older homes have verandas and high ceilings what to cool down the house. How homes are like boxes, no shade and no protection from the elements around the doors or windows. It’s like we are driven to use heating and cooling systems in them, making us more vulnerable to the effects of nature, we need our homes to reflect the environment, so we can become acclimatized to the temperature around us. Yet so many go from air con house, to cool car to air-conditioned work place. I would love for the landlord to be encouraged to install solar panels on all rental properties.

We all know the tips of keeping the blinds/curtains closed when the sun is on that side of the house. Keeping curtains open at night to allow the cool air in the house. Let’s be honest this isn’t always done because we are superstitious or the house is too close to the neighbours and we don’t want them looking into our rooms. Not all homes have security and in some suburbs people, especially the aged, don’t always feel safe having windows open, in that case only open the windows of the room you are in. If you have sliding windows buy a couple of metal curtain rails, cut them to a few centre metres short of the window run and put them in. It lets you have the window open a small amount (not big enough for someone to get in) of cool air coming in the house.

Plant greenery around the house if you can, a few trees would be great, but if you can’t, and many of us can’t when renting, have a  look at shade cloth or outside blinds to keep the sun out. No shade in the yard, maybe you could buy a cheap pop up  marquee tent  for when you need to be outside, I know Aldi has them really cheap and check out secondhand ones.  You can even get a shade cloth and tie it from your house to a tree, or washing line, in fact anywhere that it is stable and can give you a bit of shade

Fans are a cheap alternative and some only cost around $10 and can last for quite a few years, just make sure you dust them down on a regular basis. With the good old fan, you can place a damp cloth over it and this allows the moisture in the air making it cooler, a cheaper alternative to the misting fans. But be aware when you do this, the rust sets in and the dust sticks to the fan. Putting a bowl of cold water and ice in front of the fan lets the fan send a cool breeze around the room. Evaporative coolers can cost about$100, it all depends on where you are looking to buy one from. They are good, always make sure you have enough water in it, don’t leave it sitting through winter with water in it. I like the ones that have an ice tray, that you can cool the air down even more. The down side is they don’t cover a big area, so don’t use it in the lounge.

Make designated cool zones in the house and around. Pick one room that is cool and in that run two fans to keep it cool all day long. In my home, I have an industrial fan in the lounge and on the really hot days, I have two smaller fans running in the room too. It keeps it cool. I run the fans from early in the day, when things are still cool, keep the front curtain shut, until the sun moves around. I have a door curtain on the front door, allowing me to have the door open and keep out the sun and stops the neighbours looking in.

Staying cool is more important that dressing to impress. If you are home in the privacy of your own home, just wear your swimmers, underwear or that sarong, let the kids run around in swimmers or underwear too. Keep washers handy to wipe the sweat of the kids to keep them feeling comfortable. Use damp washer to wipe yourself or to put on your head to feel a refreshing cool. I keep some washers in the freezer so that I can pull out some nice cold comfort. Make sure you have plenty of water in the fridge and drink lots of water. If you have little ones, set up the little pool in the shade and join the kids in the pool for some splashing. If you don’t have a pool, fill up the bath and let the kids have water play. It’s not a bad idea to just clean everything out of the bathroom and let the kids splash and play, get wet and keep cool. Put the floor mat at the door and a couple of towels there and let them go in and out, join them if you can fit in the bath. The price of water and the potential for droughts stops some people from long showers, so go back to your drought plans. Put a bucket and a couple of containers in the shower, let the kids or yourself have that cooling shower (body temperature is better for cooling down). Once you finish the shower, you have the containers of water to splash around and pour over yourself or the kids later.

If you need to have a nap, an easy way to make it nicer is to put a sheet in the freezer for a while before naptime and then spread it on top of your bed, with the fan running, you and the little ones, if you have them can have a cooler nap. I have heard of people putting your bed sheets in the freezer and making your bed before going to sleep at night, honestly who could be bothered, just do the nap trick and throw that sheet on the bed. The down side of this is the extra washing, but I have friend who lets her kids hose down the “freezer sheets” on the line and they dry off in the sun, the kids have cooled off and as she says, a good dose of sunshine kills off a lot of things. Use the hot water bottle as a cold water bottle, half fill it pop it in the freezer then put it in your bed at night. If you have the freezer blocks, they work too and the  cool wraps.

If you can afford it, buy the cooling pillows, or the breathable ones, that are good in winter and summer.  Using thicker sheets, is good for cooling and warming. Even Kmart have high thread count sheets now days, avoid the polyester or mixed fibre sheets. Lay-by one set at a time, or get family to help you buy quality sheets and pillows for each member of the family. Each of my kids have their own double bed, and I have over the years given them 1000 count sheets and have had friends help me and gift them for birthdays etc. It’s an investment in their future comfort. I know it sounds a bit like a “Glory Box”,  and I guess it is in a way, but it has helped them when leaving home, (and being young adults, coming home ).

If you can on the hottest days visit  the local library or shopping centre and enjoy the air conditioning there for free. Most libraries are really good, and have no problem with kids and families coming in and enjoying the books and the cool. I hate to say that some shopping centres don’t like people coming and escaping the heat. They want you to be buying, buying and more buying. I know a couple of shopping centres not too far from me that have very little public seating, so if you go to the shops, be warned, and stretch out your weekly grocery hunt to an all day adventure to make the most of the cool.

I hope this has helped and enjoy summer, and stay cool.