I was fortunate to spend 6 weeks at Aboriginal Victoria as part of the Aurora Internship Program. I was a little apprehensive going into the internship, knowing that due to COVID-19 restrictions it would be done entirely remotely. However, in many ways the internship exceeded my expectations and I am really grateful for the rewarding experience.
I was placed in the Aboriginal Land Rights Team and from the get-go it was clear that communication and collaboration was central to how the team functioned. I really enjoyed attending various weekly team meetings (over Teams) and found that this was a great way to understand the wider work of the team. I was also fortunate to be able to attend a team building day while I was undertaking the internship. It was inspiring to see how open, honest and supportive people in the team were to each other and to see the dedication everyone showed to their work.
My work at Aboriginal Victoria was broadly related to the review of the Aboriginal Lands Act 1970 (‘ALA’). The ALA granted freehold title to residents of two Aboriginal communities in 1970. However, the legislation is now outdated, which is why a review is happening. I was really pleased to be given a range of challenging tasks throughout the internship. These tasks included research work, drafting briefs to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, drafting consultation plans, reviewing compliance obligations. My supervisors were supportive of me being involved in work I was interested in. For example, I asked to be involved in some native title work which I found really interesting.
I feel I learnt a lot over the six weeks. First, I gained a greater understanding of the different First Nations communities in Victoria and the relationship between communities and government. I was fortunate to be at Aboriginal Victoria during NAIDOC week and attended a number of events. I found it particularly interesting to hear about the Treaty process that is happening in Victoria. Second, I gained some understanding of processes of government. As someone who would be interested in working for the government, I feel this insight is really valuable. Third, I feel that I have established connections with people in the team and learnt how to effectively work as a team in a remote environment. My supervisor organised for me to meet individually with everyone in the team, which was a really nice way to get to know people. Just following my internship, I attended the team Christmas party and was able to meet everyone in real life, which was very nice!
I feel grateful that I was able to intern at Aboriginal Victoria as part of the Aurora Internship Program. I would encourage anyone interested in working in the social-justice or Indigenous sector to apply for an internship.
https://auroraproject.com.au/about-internship-program Applications for the winter 2021 round will be open in March.