Kara keys responds to naidoc week

With NAIDOC Week 2021 wrapping up last weekend and Women in Super’s NAIDOC event a huge hit, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank our members for their participation, thank Lyn Melcer and Graeme Marrinan from QSuper for their deep insights in our online event and share some personal reflections about NAIDOC week.


The NAIDOC 2021 theme:

Heal Country! Heal our nation.

Calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.

Country is move than a place and inherent to our identity.

The theme also seeks substantive institutional, structural, and collaborative reform.

Real opportunity presents itself for reform based on fundamental change in the relationship Australia has with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

NAIDOC has always held a special place in the calendar for me. Growing up in Brisbane, the Musgrave Park NAIDOC Family Fun Day was not to be missed! Cultural entertainment, kids running around crazy on sugar icies, rides, market stalls, food vans and just generally catching up with all my mob that I did not see that often throughout the year. It always fed my soul and left me feeling nourished at the end of the day.

The pure community joy and solidarity in coming together to celebrate the rich history, diverse cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the oldest continuing cultures on the planet.

This coming together every year, leaving with enrichment, with family and mob and our non-Indigenous allies and supporters speaks to the reality that Country is more than a place, it’s a sustaining force, something that guides and influences your every day. This sustaining force has existed in Australia for over 60,000 years and continues today as the oldest living culture on the planet. A culture that is as ancient as it is modern, carried through the lines of generations.

And these lines, this sustaining force is also carried on and through Country: land, waters, sacred sites and cultural heritage. Both cultural understanding and knowledges and sacred sites and cultural heritage is Australian heritage. They are so valuable to our nation, they are the story and history of all Australians.

We also know that we have more work to do, through institutional, structural and collaborative reform to ensure, not just equality of all Australians but Equity and Justice.


This point, around the need to work towards equity and justice with First Nations peoples, was an excellent point made by Lyn Melcer at our Women in Super NAIDOC event last week.

Lyn, Head of Technical Advice, QSuper spoke with passion and commitment about the work she and QSuper does with First Nations communities.

Lyn spoke to her passion for addressing issues with superannuation binding death nominations, which currently don’t recognise First Nations “kinship” structures and traditional adoptions (e.g. a grandmother adopting her grandson as a child/son). 

That in many remote communities there are no street names and every family uses the Post Office as their mailing address. This shouldn’t present a problem for our funds, just be accepted as the norm of those geographical locations.

Further that regardless of your situation in life, your employment status, your age, your occupation, or your geographical location we will all be vulnerable at some point in our life and rather than trying to categories people into labels like “vulnerable members” we should take a member focused approach and be proactive about solving the now if our members that need help and advice.

The discussion and insights from Lyn demonstrated that for industry super there are many opportunities for institutional, structural and collaborative reform. Reform to ensure that our system recognises the diversity of cultural and family arrangements. That our members live all over the beautiful, sacred Country that we call Australia. That a 'one size fits all' approach is not always in the best interest of members. That we have a call to action – everyone can do something to progress the interests of members and Reconciliation.

For Women in Super this call to action means two things:

  1. We will continue to strongly advocate and campaign for structural reforms which ensure equal and adequate retirement outcomes for women.

This year’s National Roadshow will be taking this conversation to the next level – we’ll be focusing on the Caring Crunch! What are the big macro-economic barriers for women? Why does our economy and superannuation system not value the vital unpaid work (mostly) women do in terms of caring? What is the “sandwich generation” and how is it adversely impacting on the retirement outcomes for women? And what are the solutions – how do we win for women?

We hope you will all join us at this critically important event where we will be discussing the big policy issues and seeking our members support for the campaign.


  1. Exciting news! Over the next 12 months Women in Super will be rolling out our 'Justice Series'!

At Women in Super we believe it is important to be an ally. That is why we will be giving a platform and voice to diverse women in our community to talk about their work and inspire us all to be proactive allies in the movement for equality, equity and justice.

Keep an eye out for these events, you won’t want to miss them!


Once again, I want to thank Lyn Melcer for her time and wonderfully honest reflections on the vital work she is doing at QSuper with First Nations communities. It was terribly unfortunate that at the last minute I couldn’t attend to host the conversation but sadly, technology failures spare no one.

Thank you to all of our members, supporters and sponsors for your ongoing support and we are looking forward to seeing you at our next event!



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