Carmel is a voice for the community
FOR the past 18 years Carmel Monaghan has provided a voice for those at their most vulnerable.
As Grafton Base Hospital Aboriginal liaison officer, Ms Monaghan advocates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and families to ensure a smooth experience during their hospital stay.
"I'm sort of like the middle person, to bridge the gap for Aboriginal people," she said.
"That's what drives me, makes me passionate; to make sure my people and all indigenous people have a comfortable stay in hospital."
Ms Monaghan was honoured to address a crowd of medical staff and the wider community outside the hospital for the annual flag raising ceremony on Tuesday, to highlight the importance of this year's NAIDOC theme Voice, Treaty, Truth.
"I believe that we need to continue the legacies that our ancestors, our elders, past and present and emerging community members to make changes and all stand united as one," she said.
"We have to acknowledge and recognise it but we all have to move forward and work together, because Aboriginal people, we're the first peoples in Australia and, as my uncle always said, Aboriginal Australia will always have a black history until we acknowledge it and are recognised."
Ms Monaghan hoped one of those changes would include a treaty or formal agreement between Australia and its indigenous peoples.
"Australia is the only Commonwealth country that does not have a treaty with its indigenous people," she said.
"We call for new beginnings, marked as a formal process of agreement and truth telling in changed government policies and to provide self-determination to all indigenous people of Australia."