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Catholic school principal appointed to Govt indigenous body

Miriam Rose Baumann, principal of St Francis Xavier Catholic School in the Northern Territory's Daly River, has been appointed a member of the Federal Government's unelected indigenous advisory body that is set to replace the elected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).

The Council will be chaired by Sue Gordon, a West Australian Children's Court magistrate who headed a watershed inquiry into domestic violence. Other members include AFL footballer Adam Goodes and Labor Party heavyweight Warren Mundine.

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone unveiled the make-up of the 14-member council on Saturday. The body's role is to provide the government expert advice on policy, program and issues affecting indigenous Australians.

She said the council was not intended as a replacement for the soon to be abolished ATSIC and members were not selected on the basis they represented a specific region or organisation.

"They will be presenting their views as individuals, based on their areas of expertise," Senator Vanstone said.

Labor said no matter who was on the council, it opposed the concept of an unelected indigenous body.

Other members are Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses executive director Sally Goold, central Queensland ATSIC regional council chairman Michael White, barrister Tammy Williams and Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation founding member Archie Barton. The list also includes Mary Ann Bin-Sallik, dean of Indigenous Research and Education at Charles Darwin University, Selsia Island Council chairman Joseph Elu, Jawoyn Association chief executive Robert Lee, the first Aborigine to play soccer for Australia, John Moriarty, Indigenous Capital Ltd chief executive Joe Proctor and Eastern Yugambeh native title group business manager Wesley Aird.

The council will meet at least four times a year, with the first meeting expected early in December.

According to the website of the Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre, Miriam Rose Baumann was born near Daly River in 1950. While Miriam Rose is a member of the Ngangiwumirr language group she also speaks four other local languages. In 1968, Miriam Rose undertook a Teaching Assistants course at Kormilda College in Darwin, and subsequently became a teacher's aide at the St. Francis Xavier mission school at Daly River. After time away, she returned to Daly River in 1975 as the Territory's first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher.

In 1990, she began training as a school principal, and in 1993 was appointed to the position of Principal at the St. Francis Xavier School at Daly River. In 1998, Miriam Rose was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, for her services to Aboriginal education and art, and for services to the Nauiyu community having been for many years a member of the local community council, often in the role of President.

Head of Indigenous Council named (Daily Telegraph/Australian Associated Press 6/11/04)

Gordon named head of Indigenous Council (Sydney Morning Herald 6/11/04)
Head of Indigenous Council named (The Weekend Australian 6/11/04)
St Francis Xavier School, Daly River
The language of learning (The Age 25/10/04)
Aboriginal Education (Occasional Paper by Miriam-Rose Baumann 1994)
Miriam Rose Ungenmerr-Baumann - The Jesuit Spirit in This Land painting (Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre) | Miriam Rose Ungenmerr - Baumann

8 Nov 2004