HARMONY - A Reconciliation Forum
Speaker Profiles
Forum review
Tune in to 2SER 107.3FM for an Out and Out special on Harmony on Wednesday, September 23 at 8pm.
join us for an afternoon of reconciliation Hosted by  


Wiradjuri woman and elder in  
Sydney's inner city  
indigenous community 

State Reconciliation Committee 

Formerly NSW Land Council 



President, ACON 





Guthrie Theatre UTS, Sat 12 September 1998
"The queer community's strength is its diversity and its willingness to embrace difference. Understanding and reconciliation have never been more important.
Be there to show your support and be part of the celebration"

BLACK WHITE AND PINK gratefully acknowledge the following individuals and or organisations for their support:

OUT FM, Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, ACON, Sydney Star Observer, Lesbian & Gay Anti Violence Project, 2010 Gay & Lesbian Youth Service, Gay & Lesbian Business Association, Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby, University of Technology Sydney, UTS Student Association, John Marsden, The Gender Centre, Sydney Bisexual Network, Wek-ed, Central Sydney Area Health Service, New Media Connections, gogo caf..., Royal Botanic Gardens.

BLACK WHITE AND PINK organising committee thanks:

SHELLEY ROSS (State Reconciliation Council)
GARY LEE (Indigenous Officer with Australian Federationof AIDS Organisations)
AARON ROSS (Media Officer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission)

BLACK WHITE AND PINK organising committee:


Please help us publicise this event. Click for scanned A5 leaflets in colour or black and white


AUNTY SILVIA SCOTT is a Wiradjuri woman who is a respected elder in Sydney's Aboriginal Community and is also involved with the Mac Silva Centre, a support service for Aboriginal people with alcohol related problems. Aunty Silvia is also a member of the board from Tranby Aboriginal College

VANESSA WAGNER is one of Australia's most colourful and entertaining identities. Vanessa started as a dedicated housewife and part-time hostess, then realising her immense social skills, Vanessa moved to throw a series of notorious 'Patio Parties'. Vanessa was crowned Miss Fair Day and hosts the annual Grad Race Meet at Bondi Beach for the Sydney Fringe Festival. She is director of her own dance company, Crystal Stepz Dance Company and co-hosted the 1998 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Telecast.

TOBIN SAUNDERS is a freelance performer, choreographer, DJ and events coordinator/producer. Combining elements of contempory dance, expressive movement, popular culture and satire, Tobin's work could best be described as Pastiche.

DAVID MARR is a journalist who has worked for the Bulletin, the National Times and ABC Radio and television. Over the past twenty years he has slos written biographies of both Garfield Barwick and Patrick White. His 1985 Four Corners on the deaths of Aboriginals in custody in Western Australia, 'Black Death', helped the push for the Royal Commission that followed. David Marr now writes for the Sydney Morning Herald on race, sex justice and other issues.

LINDA BURNEY grew up in Whitton, a small farming community near Leeton, NSW, where she won a NSW government scholarship and became the first Aboriginal student to complete a Diploma of Teaching at the then Mitchel CAE. Linda has recently given up the presidency of the NSW Aboriginal ducation Consultative Group to accept the position of Chair of the NSW State Reconciliation Committee. Linda's other current commitments include membership of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, the Board of SBS, the NSW Historic Houses Trust, the NSW Centenary of Federation Committee and the Chair of the Board of the Vocational Education and Training Equity Advisory Committee.

SENATOR BOB BROWN, 52, a former medical practitioner, was the Director of the Wilderness Society which organised the blockade of the damworks on Tasmania's wild Franklin river in 1982/3. After Federal government intervention, the Franklin river was protected in 1983. As a State MP, Bob Brown introduced a wide range of private member's initiatives, including Freedom of Information, Death with Dignity, gay law reform. Some succeeded, others not. Bob Brown has been a life long activist.

ADEN RIDGEWAY is a member of the Gumbayyngirr Aboriginal people of nothern NSW and until recently was the Executive Director of the NSW Lands Council. He was previously Lands Policy Manager, providing advice to the Aboriginal community on such matters as native title, cultural property issues, community planning, land rights and land management. Aden has been a member of the Sydney Regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Coucil, an Aboriginal assessor at the NSW Land and Environment Court and helped develop a regional plan for the soci-economic conditions of the Aboriginal people in the Sydney region. He is currently a candidate for the Australian Democratic Party, a member of the geographical Names Board of NSW and the Australian Museum Trust, Director of the NSW Public Service Staff Credit Union and Chairperson of the Bangarra Dance Theatre Company.

REV DOROTHY McCRAE-McMAHON was a minister with the Pitt Street Uniting Church in Sydney for ten years and then for the last five years on the national staff of the Uniting Church. She resigned from this position after announcing publicly that she is a lesbian and is now mostly a writer and a speaker. The community has recognised her work over the years with a Jubilee Medal from the Queen for work with women in NSW (1977), an Australian Government Peace Award (1986), the Australian Human Rights Medal (1988) and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Macquarie University for work with minorities and contribution to the spiritual life of the community (1992).

Sydney Star Observer
September 17 1998

Harmony from the ground up

Vanessa McQuarrie

Ms Vanessa Wagner with Greens Senator Bob Brown. Photo: C.Moore Hardy

Reconciliation is possible, and there is much individuals can do to contribute to the process, a community forum organised by Black White and Pink heard last weekend.

Aboriginal activist and Democrat senate candidate Aden Ridgeway told the Harmony – An Afternoon of Reconciliation forum he has faith in a growing peoples’ movement working towards "the common good".

Ridgeway warned that while there  had been a recent backlash against indigenous people, other groups, including the gay and lesbian community, would soon also come under attack.

"We can expect that in the future … [the] winding back of the rights available to indigenous people [will be] the beginning of the process, not the end. How many other groups in this society will be persecuted?"

Ridgeway said he had doubts about the ongoing function of the Human Rights Commission, and "the legislation that has been put in place to protect the rights of individuals in this country".

"Those are the things that form part of the common good, the things that ought to be stood up for."

Gay journalist David Marr told the crowd: "Change and reconciliation is possible … but it can’t happen without the real gutsy backing of government.

"It’s governments that change the minds of nations, and the reality of politics is that directing and nurturing and focussing hate is one of the primary tasks of politics," he said.

"Communists know all about that, homosexuals know all about that, Asian immigrants know all about that, Aboriginal Australia knows it in its bones. And right now we’ve got a government that isn’t willing to fight race hate; it is deliberately feeding off it."

Marr said his comments were not to be taken as "code to vote Labor".

"Don’t forget that Labor allowed the Hindmarsh Island Act through parliament. That is the first federal piece of legislation in the history of this country that ever deliberately took rights and properties from any racial group ever … and Labor let that legislation through."

Linda Burney, of the State Reconciliation Committee, said reconciliation could exist on many levels, and different communities, including the gay and lesbian community, had a role to play.

Individuals could embrace the challenge of reconciliation by simply deciding they want a nation that was about harmony, and not division, she said.

"We cannot for any longer think that our political masters are going to deliver… the only people that will deliver reconciliation is ourselves."

Other forum participants included Senator Bob Brown, AIDS Council of NSW president Chris Gration, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras board member Wendy Brady, Wiradjuri elder Sylvia Scott, and Rev. Dorothy McCrae McMahon.

The forum was hosted by Vanessa Wagner, and the crowd was entertained by Romaine Moreton and Tim Bishop.

Tune in to 2SER 107.3FM for an Out and Out special on Harmony on Wednesday, September 23 at 8pm.