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Public Policy Forum: The Black Lives Matter Movement in the Australian Con

Public Policy Forum: The Black Lives Matter Movement in the Australian Con

An excellent panel of speakers discussed what the Black Lives Matter movement means for Australia.

An Alfred Deakin Institute Public Policy Forum

The BLM movement originated in the United States where, initially, the focus of the movement was on police killings of Black Americans. It focused on systemic racism particularly, but not exclusively, against the descendants of slaves and their fight for rights, justice and equity. Over time, the conversation around BLM has expanded in the US and around the world to include the treatment of other people of colour, implicit bias, anti-racism and most critically – what it means to be white and in the majority and all the different privileges that affords. Recognition and support for the BLM movement has grown exponentially in the past few months. Yet many people in Australia think that Australia’s egalitarian ideals insulate the country from racism and that this issue is an American import embraced by the Left. This discussion sought to investigate the history of the BLM movement, the issues it raises and what the movement means in and for Australia, especially how it intersects with the long history of Indigenous activism that preceded this moment.


Prof Marcia Langton AM
Professor Marcia Langton AM is an anthropologist and geographer, and since 2000 has held the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne. She has produced a large body of knowledge in the areas of political and legal anthropology, Indigenous agreements and engagement with the minerals industry, and Indigenous culture and art.




Bridget Brennan
Bridget Brennan is a Europe correspondent for the ABC based in London. She was previously the ABC’s national Indigenous affairs correspondent, covering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs across Australia. Bridget has worked as a reporter in Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin and Hong Kong. She has filed for some of Australia’s flagship news and current affairs programs, covering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, politics, international affairs and social issues. Bridget started at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a cadet. During 2013 and 2014 she worked as a writer for CNN International in Hong Kong, covering major breaking news across the Asia-Pacific.


Dr Berhan Ahmed
Dr Berhan Ahmed is the CEO of the African Australian Multicultural Employment and Youth Services, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Melbourne. Berhan was the Victorian Australian of the Year in 2009 and was the first African Australian Senate Candidate for federal election 2004 for Victoria. He was chairperson of the African Think Tank and served as the advocate of human rights and refugee settlement in Australia for African refugees, Refugees committee (1997–2005), and board member of the Australian Multicultural Education Services (AMES) 2007–2016. 



Adongwot Manyoul
Adongwot Manyoul holds a Double Bachelors in Communications in Journalism and International Studies. She is a South Sudanese Youth Advocate, Community Development Professional, and Researcher. She is dedicated to empowering people of CALD backgrounds to achieving their ambitions as demonstrated by her extensive community development work with the South Sudanese community. Adongwot also has a special interest in bolstering excellence through education. She was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2019 to explore ways in which African diasporas have successfully integrated in other Western Societies.  With a special focus of the education system, she aspires to influence other young people of colour to follow their dreams and reach their highest potential.


Lydia Khalil (moderator)
Lydia Khalil is an Associate Research Fellow at ADI. She has a broad range of policy, academic and private sector experience, and has spent her career focusing on the intersection between governance and security — whether it be understanding the rationales behind terrorism and counterinsurgency, how to create governance systems that lead to functioning societies, effective policing strategies or the security and policy effects of new technology. She is currently a director of Arcana Partners, a strategic consultancy firm.


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