Law, Auntie Pam - Ministerial Statement

Hon. GW ELMES (Noosa—LNP) (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier) (9.57 am): It is with great sadness that I inform the House of the passing of one of Brisbane’s prominent Aboriginal elders, Auntie Pamela Law. I first met her soon after taking up the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander portfolio and was immediately impressed by her generous spirit, inviting hospitality and steely determination to see a better world come from the one in which she was born. She willingly accepted the mantle of community leader. She never shirked the responsibilities that go with it, no matter how difficult the task.

Auntie Pam was already head of the Inala Elders Association when I came to know her. She became equipped for that position through a life of struggle, out of which grew a spirit of selfless determination. Auntie Pam, a Wakka Wakka woman, was born in Mundubbera, where her father worked as a stockman. Her family moved to Eidsvold, where she stayed until she was 18. Auntie Pam lived and worked in Sydney before returning north, to Brisbane’s West End. In 1980 she moved to her much loved community of Inala, where she quickly became appreciated as a leader and a woman with a heart for her people’s welfare. She worked as a teacher’s aide, became president of the Aboriginal Student Support Parents Association and set up a homework centre at Serviceton State School, which all three of her boys attended. Auntie Pam was an active member of the Inala community, and over the years she always made herself available to attend community meetings and help organise local NAIDOC events. In 2002 Auntie Pam joined the Inala Elders Association. She became board member, then secretary and finally president up until her passing.

In addition, Auntie Pam was the chair of the Inala Round Table, a group that developed the Inala action plan to address community needs. With DATSIMA, Auntie Pam oversaw the development and implementation of the Inala action plan. It was through the hospitality, insistence and determination of Auntie Pam that I made the decision to become an active member of the Inala Round Table. Auntie Pam Law lived in Inala for 33 years. Right to the end, she undertook volunteer work five days a week, 52 weeks a year, from 9 am until three o’clock. Her physical presence and tireless work will be sadly missed in the Inala community and the wider Aboriginal community.