Indigenous women Straight Talking with politicians at Australian Parliament House

15 Aug 2022

Michelle Deshong featured image
Michelle Deshong

Churchill Fellow Michelle Deshong is facilitating Straight Talk, for the first time being held at Australian Parliament House in its ten years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women will be connected with Australia’s political system, building their capacity as change makers, to engage with the federal political system.

Mr Adam Davey, CEO of the Winston Churchill Trust congratulated Ms Deshong as she continues her outstanding leadership roles facilitating Straight Talk at Parliament House. “Ms Deshong continues to demonstrate her strong advocacy for Indigenous self-determination through self-governance.” he said.

Michelle Deshong is a Kuku Yalanji woman from North Queensland. She has worked in Indigenous affairs for more than 25 years and held a number of senior leadership and governance roles. Ms DeShong said she “I believe self-determination through self-governance is the key to a sustainable future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

“Straight Talk is a hugely Important way that Indigenous women can have a genuine say about their self-governance and their political advocacy”

“Through my Churchill Fellowship, I visited First Nations communities and institutions around the world focusing on models of leadership, politics and governance. I brought back what could be implemented in an Australian context. Of particular note were concepts of nation building, cultural governance, sovereignty and identity. My report examines these issues in more detail.” she said.

Michelle implemented elements of the Fellowship finding into her role at the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute, reconnecting with many people through an International conference held in 2019. In early 2021 returned to her the Managing Director role in her consulting business, Deshong Consulting, where she is leading work in cultural and organisational governance training, political engagement and development nationally and internationally.

Michelle is featured in the 2022 podcast series, Voices of power, created by The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), in partnership with the Churchill Trust.

About the Churchill Trust reconciliation action plan

We’re proud to have awarded Churchill Fellowships to First Nations peoples since 1966, our first year of operation. We continue to develop strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement strategies, partnerships for community empowerment, as well as respect for the knowledge systems of our First Peoples. Find out more here.

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