The Australian Medical Council is an organisation whose work impacts across the lands of Australia and New Zealand.
The Australian Medical Council acknowledges the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the original Australians and the Māori People as the tangata whenua (Indigenous) Peoples of Aotearoa (New Zealand). We recognise them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.
We pay our respects to them and to their Elders, both past, present and emerging, and we recognise their enduring connection to the lands we live and work on, and honour their ongoing connection to those lands, its waters and sky.
The AMC is committed to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori people through all of its work. As a key part of this commitment, the AMC acknowledges the right to self-determination and so is led by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori people when developing and delivering our work that is likely to impact on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Peoples.
The AMC works with the Medical Board of Australia and Te Kaunihera Rata o Aotearoa | Medical Council of New Zealand to develop the accreditation standards for medical schools and specialist colleges for both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
In considering this, the AMC also has a responsibility to reflect, as best it can, the bi-National voice of the Indigenous Peoples of both these Nations.
As such, the AMC elected to use the terms ‘Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori’ or ‘Indigenous’ as both these terms are widely understood in both Nations.
The language to refer to so many separate and diverse nations is viewed differently, and through these two terminologies, we seek to acknowledge and honour both our differences, and our shared knowledge and experience.
The AMC supports the Voice to Parliament. Read the full supporting statement. The AMC recognises and acknowledges the impact and toll that the Voice to Parliament Referendum may have on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities. Please prioritise your wellbeing. HealthInfoNet have developed some wellbeing resources that you can access via their Connection, Strength, Resilience portal.
The Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Strategy (2023-2028) maps the AMC’s influence in relevant sectors and the current reach of the AMC across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand and identifies strategies to support cultural safety and Indigenous Health in all aspects of our work.
The Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Strategy supports the identified areas of action under the AMC Strategic Plan 2018–2028.
The Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Strategy expands on and replaces initiatives included in the AMC’s Reconciliation Action Plan (2019- 2021).
The AMC acknowledges:
As a key Strategic value of the AMC, we are working to ensure Cultural Safety is imbedded in all our work, in both the assessment of international medical graduates, the accreditation standards for medical schools and specialist colleges, and in all our policies (both internal and external) and publications.
We deliver regular cultural safety training to our staff, and work closely with our Committee Members and other key stakeholders to ensure that we continue to grow our understanding of what that means.
AMC Shared Language for Cultural Safety
The AMC acknowledges and supports the definitions widely used and supported, and notes that Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand have separate definitions for the term cultural safety and includes these definitions and their unique attributes in corresponding contexts.
We have actively sought to determine which language will best align with our organisation and stakeholders. We note that each stakeholder will hold their own definition of these terms, and it is not the purpose of AMC to need those aligned. However, we do want to provide clarity within the AMC and its committees to ensure that the language used is consistent.
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) Cultural Safety Strategy
The AMC is a signatory to the National Scheme’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy 2020-2025, which aims to make cultural safety the norm for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander patients. It sets a clear direction and course of action for Ahpra and the National Boards who regulate Australia’s 740,000 registered health practitioners, and accreditation authorities whose accreditation standards and processes ensure that accredited programs are producing graduates who have the knowledge, skills and professional attributes to practice the profession in Australia.
For more information on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) Cultural Safety Strategy.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) – the founding document of New Zealand
The Treaty of Waitangi establishes the basis for Māori rights to health equity through conferring on the Crown a responsibility to protect Māori and, on Māori the rights of equal citizenship, including the right to parity of outcomes. Over time, the Waitangi Tribunal and the courts have established a body of jurisprudence in the form of principles of the Treaty that further outline the responsibilities of both government and Māori. Chief amongst these in the health sector context are the principles of Partnership, Participation and Protection.
For more information on the responsibilities under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, see the Medical Council of New Zealand strategic plan.
In 2019, the AMC’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Committee (the Committee) was established as a Constituted Standing Committee to ensure robust Indigenous leadership and guidance for all of the AMCs work.
Professor Shaun Ewen is the current Committee Chair and has a strong history with the AMC, serving on its Medical Education Standards Accreditation Committee (2015-19) and medical school accreditation teams.
Professor Ewen also served as a member on the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Strategy Committee, the predecessor to the current Standing Committee.
The primary purpose of the Committee is to ensure all matters of interest and responsibility of the AMC are strengthened by ensuring they are responsive to the needs and rights of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Peoples and communities.
It achieves this by including Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Peoples in assessment, accreditation and strategic initiatives, from both historic and contemporary lenses, including the ongoing effects of colonisation and current inequalities, using communication and consultation practices that honour the cultural practices of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori communities.
Membership of the Committee includes:
The Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Committee is supported by the Indigenous Policy and Programs section of the AMC, who also support the other business units of the AMC to ensure that Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Peoples are considered and included in all of the AMC’s work in an inclusive, culturally safe, and appropriate way.
Read our previous Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Health Statement 2018
Read our previous AMC Reconciliation Action Plan (2019- 2021)
Artist: Sarah Richards (Ngiyampaa Nation) Title: Diverse Alignment (24×30″) October 2022
From the Artist:
“Diverse Alignment” was created for the Australian Medical Council’s (AMC) Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Strategy.
A key element of “Diverse Alignment” is to recognise the important part Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and Māori Peoples’ knowledge plays in achieving positive outcomes for our people and combining this with the role AMC plays in delivering initiatives to support Closing the Gap in terms of health outcomes. The combining of all these valuable knowledge sources is represented by the four paths coming together in the centre.
In addition, it was important to represent the healing elements of nature that served, prior to colonisation, and still serves Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori Peoples. So, surrounding the four paths, which also represents the healing element of the sun, I have included some natural healing elements that resonate with me – water, trees, earth, and fire/smoke.
It is my hope that “Diverse Alignment” generates a feeling of meaningful connection where relationships are strengthened, and diversity of knowledge is respected.