Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 3 2016 Contents 43
Issue 3 2016 Defence
DANE Rofe, a Wakka Wakka man, was born
in Mareeba in Far North Queensland.
Asked how he feels about his Aboriginal
heritage, Dane says: “Respect and pride about
being a member of the oldest living culture.”
A security officer for the Defence Science
and Technology Group, Dane says NAIDOC
Week is about recognition and is a time to
celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
“It’s a time to stop and remember all who
fought to gain acceptance and recognition for
all of us today,” he says.
“My favourite NAIDOC experience has
been attending a Bangarra Dance Theatre
performance, which was amazing.”
Dane, now residing in Canberra, was
successful in obtaining a position in Defence
via the Indigenous Australian Government
“It has been a positive experience and this
program has given me a progressive career,
and the opportunity to grow and develop is
definitely a highlight,” he says.
“I would recommend the Indigenous
Australian Government Development Program
as a pathway, not just for employment, but
because of the opportunities it has given me to
experience a different lifestyle, meet amazing
people and develop a career.
“Since working at Defence, I have met
people from all walks of life and different
cultures. I’ve had opportunities to travel and I
feel like I’m part of a team.”
42 Defence Issue 3 2016
PRIVATE SIMONE KELLEY
Service Police Trainee
“BEING indigenous is something to be proud
of as an Australian and to have such old
ancestry connections that connect me to this
country is amazing, when you think about it,”
says Private Simone Kelley, a descendant of
the Anangu and Yankunytjatjara tribes.
“To me, it also means that I need to respect
what has happened in the past and to be a
positive influence for others in the future.”
To Simone, NAIDOC Week is a time
to remember the past and recognise the
significance of Aboriginal culture and history.
It is also a time to appreciate the changes to
improve the lives of Indigenous Australians
and make amends for past events, although
there is still a long way to go in some areas.
“The more you learn about the history
of Indigenous Australians, the trials and
tribulations and the way different stories are
passed on through generations really opens
your eyes,” she says.
Simone has embraced the Army lifestyle
that has allowed the Defence Force School of
Policing trainee to travel interstate for courses.
“I’ve never worked in an environment that
encourages learning new skills as much as
being in the Army has,” she says.
Simone encourages her friends and family
to join Defence, noting that it has been a life-
“It the best thing I’ve done to better my
future, and the opportunities are endless,” she
“It can only be a positive to have people
from different cultures and backgrounds in
Defence. It takes all kinds of people to make
up a team. Everyone has something different
and useful to bring to the table.”
MONISHA LEW FATT
Human Resource Officer
“I DON’T see my culture any differently to
other cultures, but I am proud to represent
the Australian Indigenous culture. I am a
mix: not only am I Indigenous but I am
also Asian and European,” says Monisha, a
human resource officer in Defence People
Group’s Diversity Directorate.
Monisha is a Gunggandji woman from
North Queensland, and grew up in Darwin
in the Northern Territory.
“Being Indigenous means pride, a
sense of belonging to this land that we call
Monisha joined Defence as an
Indigenous cadet and describes her current
role as being the highlight of her career.
“I have been managing and coordinating
a number of programs such as the Women’s
Speaker Series and the Defence Mentoring
Circles. I have received such positive
feedback on both programs and it makes
me so happy to hear that the work I am
doing is helping other women within
Defence,” Monisha says.
NAIDOC Week is important to Monisha,
who attended various events this year.
“For me, NAIDOC Week is a time to
celebrate my Indigenous culture. It’s a
way to show how much we love being
Indigenous and how proud we are to
represent our culture,” she says.
Monisha describes the Department of
Defence as being great to work for, as it
caters for a wide number of occupational
disciplines and it focuses on work/life
Photo: Kimiah Alberts
The Women’s Speaker Series has been taken on the road and is
giving excellent leadership insight and professional guidance
Guest speaker Michelle Sales chats to Defence APS members at the Women’s Speaker Series held at Defence Plaza Melbourne.
Photo: Leading Seaman Nina Fogliani
HE Women’s Speaker Series has
been expanded beyond Canberra.
A successful event was held in
Melbourne in May and one was
held in Sydney in September.
An audience of more than 160 Defence
women attended the event at Defence Plaza
Melbourne to hear leadership insights and
professional guidance from eminent leadership
coach Michelle Sales, of MHK Consulting.
The then Deputy Secretary Defence People,
Rebecca Skinner, introduced Michelle’s
Rebecca says the series is an opportunity for
women to hear from successful women and to
network within the Department.
“The Women’s Speaker Series has become
well established in Canberra so it was time to
take it on the road. It is important we support
the development of women across Defence,”
“We’ll make sure there are more
opportunities to engage like this in the future.”
Michelle began her presentation by saying a
room full of women is an energising thing, and
that women need to feel good enough to have a
seat at the table.
“The best advice I can give women is: ‘Don’t
apologise, take action, show up and do it with
confidence’,” Michelle says.
“Develop your brand and your own unique
voice, and pick your role models well.”
Michelle says women traditionally “carry
more water” at work as well as the home
front because as well as working they take
on much of the household and family care
Audience members were based within the
Melbourne metropolitan area, and ranged
from APS 5 level to EL 2 and their military
equivalents. Feedback from the audience was
“Hearing from experienced and successful
women like Michelle Sales is such an excellent
opportunity for any person in a leadership role,”
says music training design officer Captain
Rachel Beeton, of Simpson Barracks Defence
Command and Support Centre.
“I particularly enjoyed Michelle’s honesty
in the stories she shared, and also the insights
she was able to give into developing confidence,
emotional intelligence and balance as a leader.”
Another audience member, Samantha Taylor,
Defence Plaza defence operations manager,
spoke of the inspiration she took from the
“The presentation and listening to Michelle’s
stories was inspiring, and it was nice to see
other women in Defence being able to get
together and network,” Samantha says.
“There are not always a lot of events like
this outside of Canberra, so it was great to be
included. I hope there are more events like this.”
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