Richie Howitt AM

“There have been many moments in my life when I’ve been asked to listen. As an academic, I’ve also often been asked to speak. Sometimes I’ve spoken when I should have listened. It’s important to understand the difference between these activities – but many of the key institutions of settler Australia (government departments, resource, tourism and infrastructure companies, major charities and clubs) misunderstand the difference. When they ‘consult’ with First Nations, they report on how they have ‘spoken with’ communities. How many times do I hear my students say they will ‘speak with’ rather than ‘listen to’ First Nations peoples. And ‘talking to’ often and easily becomes ‘speaking for’ …”