Tribute to Aunty Shireen Malamoo
Step Up of Australian Government and Australian South Sea Islander Relations in Vanuatu 40th Independence Anniversary
As a gift to the celebration of the 40th Independence Anniversary of the Vanuatu Government, the Morrison Government is contributing to the establishment of a new Halls of Justice building for Vanuatu. This nationally significant building will be built in partnership with the Governments of Vanuatu and New Zealand, and reflects the Australian Government’s collective, longstanding commitment to justice and social cohesion.
Australia will also donate a painting by respected Aboriginal-Australian South Sea Islander artist Aunty Shireen Malamoo, to be hung in the new Halls of Justice. Aunty Shireen’s grandfather was of ni-Vanuatu heritage.
Aunty Shireen Malamoo: “As Honorary Patron of the Australian South Sea Islanders. Port Jackson (ASSI.PJ) I would like to thank the Australian Government for acknowledging my South Pacific Islander community in both Australia and the Pacific with this generous gesture in purchasing two of my paintings namely ‘A choir to heal’ and ‘Black people of elegant grace’ I am deeply humbled by this, but so proud to have this recognition given to me and all those who have worked before me and continue to do so today to seek social justice for our peoples within Australia.”Chair ASSI.PJ Emelda Davis: “Australian South Sea Islanders have an evident kinship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as our forebears were taken in by First Nations communities and absorbed under the 1930s Aboriginal protection Act on missions, stations, plantations and reserves as sugar slaves. Furthermore, Aboriginal families were deported under the ‘White Australia policy’ and live all throughout Vanuatu but mainly today on the island of Tongariki.
We are appreciative to the Morrison Governments recognition of the social justice struggle and look forward to a meaningful dialogue with our Prime Minister in sharing our dreams and aspirations for our lingering communities. South Pacific people have fought long and hard to redress the inequities that have befallen our peoples and their descendants who were part of the ‘blackbirded’ history of Australia’s early labour trade. In this context, this gesture by the Australian Government, of recognising the efforts of one of our most venerated Elders from Vanuatu, Aunty Shireen Malamoo, is sincerely appreciated. Her forty-year career experience has been invaluable as a founding board member and driving force behind the ASSI.PJ political perspectives.”
“It reflects the Step Up that is occurring between the Australian Government, the governments of the Pacific and of course the South Sea Islanders here in Australia – the biggest South Pacific diaspora community in the world.”
“Such efforts to elevate the status of our communities, mean that organisations like ASSI.PJ are increasingly able to take authoritative leadership to further the significant work already underway in capacity building for our communities across social, political, economic and cultural areas.”
Shireen’s expertise includes- a former board member for Justice Health, AHMRC – Ethics Committee and The Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation. In the 1970s Shireen worked for the Department of Social Security in Townsville, Queensland and was involved with the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care included membership of the Finance Committee. She was a Commissioner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) from 1991 to 1993 and sat on the NSW Parole Board for 9 years (1994 – 2003).
Shireen has extensive experience in the management of non-government services for the Aboriginal community including the Aboriginal Legal Service, the Aboriginal Media Association and the Aboriginal Medical Service in Townsville and AMS Redfern board. 2009-2012 saw her sit on the First Nations advisory panel to the City of Sydney introducing the word ‘Invasion’ to the preamble of Sydney City.
image provided by ASSIPJ:2019 Blackmores Women & Well-being Awards- The Mercie Whellan Award ‘Outstanding contribution’ winner