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Goodstart centres get a “deadly” visit from Thomas Mayo

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Kaurareg Aboriginal and Kalkalgal, Erubamle Torres Strait Islander man, author and Yes23 spokesperson, Thomas Mayo has visited a lucky group of Kindergarten children at Goodstart Gladstone - Toolooa Street and Goodstart Bundaberg - Takalvan Street this week to do a reading of his book, Finding Our Heart.

Finding Our Heart, illustrated by Blak Douglas, is a beautiful children's story explaining the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and copies were recently gifted to all 660 Goodstart centres nationwide thanks to generous donors, including Australian Unity.

Thomas is currently on a road trip throughout Central Queensland hosting events in local communities alongside fellow Yes23 spokesperson, Jade Appo-Ritchie, from the Bunda Clan of the Gooreng Gooreng Nation.  The community events have provided an opportunity for Australians to learn more and get involved in the conversation surrounding the upcoming Voice to Parliament referendum and recognition of First Nations people in the constitution.

Thomas said he was excited and proud to be visiting the community and Goodstart’s early learning centres to share the Finding Our Heart story.

“As part of my roadshow across central Queensland, I’ve had the opportunity to attend some Goodstart early learning centres to chat to some of our youngest Australians and read my book ‘Finding our Heart’. Today we met the young people of Gladstone.” He said.

“I often see that children have an innate understanding of what makes us unique as Australians, they recognise and know it is our 60,000 year old Indigenous cultural heritage. They are keenly aware of how special it is.’

“These are the moments that keep me going on the campaign trail. To see how optimistic and curious these kids are, gives me enormous encouragement for how our future generations continue to be the heart of our nation.”

“On a campaign that’s often filled with lots of events and conversations, to be able to have this different conversation in Gladstone is refreshing and motivates me to continue with my work to unite our country and make it a better place for all.”

Australian Unity Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Rohan Mead said that the organisation was proud to get behind this initiative to help give all 60,000 children attending Goodstart centres access to this important children’s book, Finding Our Heart.

“In its earlier years, Australian Unity played a substantial role in shaping the form that the Australian nation took from Federation in 1901. The thinking and perspectives that informed those actions have changed very substantially since that time—new sensibilities and improved understandings have developed on the 60,000+ years of civilisation that was almost entirely displaced and forever affected by the arrival of European society and then global populations.” Mr Mead said.

“As modern Australia considers a referendum to adjust its Constitution—to acknowledge the civilisation that proceeded it and to permanently consecrate a mechanism for that voice to be heard through the generations—Australian Unity is proud to support the publication of this book, which seeks to deepen the understanding about Australia’s first peoples.”

Goodstart is deeply committed to ensuring the next generation of children grow up with a strong connection to and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, people, and our true history. Thanks to Australian Unity’s shared commitment to reconciliation and generous gifting of the Finding Our Heart to all 660 Goodstart Early Learning centres nationwide, it paved the way for truly meaningfully and enriching literacy experiences with children centered around the Uluru Statement from the Heart. 

Earlier this month, Goodstart announced support for a Yes Vote on the referendum on the recognition of First Nations Australians in the Constitution and a Voice to Parliament. Learn more here.  

Our CEO Dr Ros Baxter said: “We’ve been invited as a nation, to unify and to recognise First Nations people and for the first time, give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians a say, a ‘Voice’ in the decisions being made about them. Goodstart has answered the invitation in the Uluru Statement from the Heart with a resounding yes.” 

Goodstart is proud to join 70 other Reconciliation Action Plan partners to support a Yes Vote on the referendum on the recognition of First Nations Australians in the constitution and Voice to Parliament. 

Our full media statement can be found here

Read the full RAP partner joint statement here in support of a Voice to Parliament and a “yes” vote in the Referendum 

Download a Fact sheet about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament Referendum here

 Yes23 brings together grassroots organisations all campaigning for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through a Voice to Parliament.


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