Land Rights News Central Australia: Land Rights News (August 2012)

Published: August, 2012

Mr Wilyuka speaking at Simpson's Gap, 18 July 2012.

New Chairman for the CLC

The CLC has a new Chair and Deputy.

Pitjanjatjara/Yankunytjatjara man Phillip Wilyuka finally fulfilled his ambition to become the Chairman of the Central Land Council when council members elected him to the position at a meeting in Tennant Creek on 23 May.

“Since I’ve been a delegate for Titjikala, I’ve been trying to get to where I am now because I knew about the Land Council and since I was about 17 years old,” he told the meeting after his election.

“I’ve seen you mob go down to Canberra on a black and white TV fighting for land rights.

“For this reason I wanted to be in this position because I’ve been to Darwin to get an education and I’ve lived in the bush and heard a lot of stories from my old man and he give me the time to go to school and learn.”

Mr Wilyuka, 55, lives in Titjikala. He has worked in a number of jobs including stock work, building houses and as a teacher’s aide. He  is currently a Lutheran pastor at Titjikala.

“I do everything I can, with the best of my knowledge, to fight for our rights,” he said.

Mr Wilyuka replaces Lindsay Bookie, who tendered his resignation on the first day of the meeting.

The following morning he offered to stay on, but members voted to hold an election for the position.

Fortunately the Australian Electoral Commission was in already in attendance to conduct an election for the post of Deputy Chair, vacated by Gina Smith some months before. 

Mr Michael Liddle was elected Deputy Chairman.  He is an Alywarre/Arrernte man living in Alice Springs.

“I look forward to working with Phillip and the Executive and Mr Ross and people,” he told the members.

“I’m here to keep people honest, and at the end of the day, we’re here to help Aboriginal people move forward with what we’ve got.”

A Council member said the outcome was a reminder of the need to maintain the CLC’s bipartisan approach.