Southern Cross University’s Gold Coast campus rocked on Tuesday when Australian Idol Casey Donovan belted out three heartfelt songs to a gathering of local indigenous people and students at the campus.
Aboriginal Tent Embassy co-founder Michael Anderson joined Ms Donovan at the university’s annual NAIDOC family celebrations.
Mr Anderson said the Tent Embassy remained as relevant as it first was 40 years ago when he established it on the lawn of Old Parliament House.
“The fact that the Tent Embassy continues to operate indicates to everyone concerned and not only Aboriginal people that there is still something terribly wrong,” he said.
Although Mr Anderson said indigenous Australians needed to be pro-active and not expect others to fight for them.
“We need to do it for ourselves,” he said.
Mr Anderson expected the Tent Embassy to remain in place until a compact treaty arrangement was drawn up with the state and federal governments and territories.
“A treaty will create a pathway where Aboriginal people will take ownership and in some cases joint ownership of programming in Aboriginal affairs rather than the current policy of total assimilation,” he said.
Ms Donovan said she had “good vibes’ about the land around Coolangatta.
She sang “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and gained thunderous applause.
Leilani Summers brought her family to the event and said NAIDOC celebrations were a crucial part of her culture.
“It’s a rare chance for Aboriginal people to come together,” she said.
“I’m thrilled to see Casey and Michael here.
“They are examples of just how successful many indigenous people are.”
NAIDOC events are an opportunity to share and acknowledge the history, culture and achievements of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.