About

Gregory Phillips established ABSTARR in 2007 to lead change.

CHANGE

We lead change by facilitating transformational growth in culturally safe environments.

For example, we are working with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to ensure 670 000 health professionals understand and enact their roles in patient safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

EXCELLENCE

We deliver excellence in strategic thought leadership, critical analysis and communications.

For example, we are working with the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet to ensure self-determination for Aboriginal peoples is real and respectful as they begin steps to negotiating a treaty with the First Peoples.

CLARITY

We bring clarity and confidence to those who want to deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

For example, we are working with the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak Ltd to ensure their strategic vision is realised.

What problem do we solve?

Many groups have taken positive steps towards inclusion in service delivery (eg Indigenous flags and artwork, RAPs, employment strategies & NAIDOC Week activities), yet many organisations and programs are still not producing excellence.

We help you understand the structural and human factors at work in your organisation by using the best evidence, razor-sharp analysis and crystal clear strategic thinking to get you optimal results.

ABSTARR guarantees a professional approach at all times, is a 100% Aboriginal owned and operated consulting business, and is certified with Supply Nation.

Outcomes

Some of the recent outcomes achieved by ABSTARR include:

  • Producing a strong definition and rationale for self-determination in Korin Korin Balit-Djak – the new Victorian Aboriginal Health, Wellbeing and Safety Strategy
  • Clarifying the thinking of the Queensland Department of Communities and the Department of Attorney General in relation to issues of cultural safety, whiteness, and power-sharing
  • Working with the professions of medicine, nursing, psychology, dentistry and others to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is addressed in curricula, training and accreditation
  • Facilitating Griffith University’s strategic plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in their medical courses
  • Development of The Australia Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s Statement of Intent

See the results page for a full list of the change ABSTARR Consulting leads.

ABSTARR Team

Prof. Gregory Phillips

Chief Executive Officer

Gregory Phillips is from the Waanyi and Jaru Aboriginal Australian peoples, and comes from Cloncurry and Mount Isa.

Gregory has a PhD (‘Dancing With Power: Aboriginal Health, Cultural Safety and Medical Education’), a research master’s degree in medical science (‘Addictions and Healing in Aboriginal Country’; published as a book in 2003), and a bachelor degree in arts (Aboriginal Studies and Government majors).

He is a leading change maker, thought leader and medical anthropologist. He leads change in cultural safety, race relations and decolonisation.

Gregory is a Professor of First People’s Health in the School of Medicine at Griffith University and is the Chief Executive Officer of ABSTARR Consulting.

Gregory also chairs the Ebony Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Institute.

Tanja Hirvonen

Director, Wellbeing

Tanja is a Jaru and Bunuba Aboriginal woman who was born in Mount Isa and has lived extensively throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory. Tanja is a registered clinical psychologist and has a Bachelor of Science with majors in psychology and human resource management (double degree). She has extensive policy and service experience in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing sector.

Tanja is Director, Wellbeing at ABSTARR Consulting and brings expertise from her extensive experience in social and emotional wellbeing, suicide prevention and intergenerational trauma, spanning across the therapeutic, community health and government sectors.

Temira Dewis

Director, Strategy

Temira Dewis is a Kaantju, Othalganu and Ayapathu woman from central and east coast of Cape York in Queensland.  Temira holds a degree in commerce majoring in management, accounting and human resource management.

Temira is the Director of Strategy of ABSTARR Consulting and has extensive experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations, and the Queensland and Victorian public sectors enabling change reforms, and embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, perspectives and cultural safety in policy and practices.

Casey Bird

Consultant

Casey Bird is a Juru and Wulgurukaba man who was born in Roma, Queensland. Casey has a Bachelor of Psychological Science with a major in philosophy. He is a youth specialist with significant front-line experience, and a strong understanding of the range of human and social service systems that impact the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, their families and communities.

Casey is a Consultant with ABSTAR Consulting and brings to the role his extensive knowledge and skills in designing, monitoring and reviewing the implementation of public policy and strategy.

Indi Clarke

Consultant

Indi Clarke is a Mutti Mutti, Wemba Wemba, Boon Wurrung, Trawlwoolway and Lardil man born in Naarm (Melbourne) on Wurundjeri Country.   He comes to ABSTARR after an extremely successful and effective tenure as Executive Officer at the Koorie Youth Council in Victoria, having overseen the development and production of game-changing initiatives in youth justice, participation, education and wellbeing.

Indi is a Consultant with ABSTARR Consulting and a passionate advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the power of strength-based approaches, and Aboriginal knowledge systems.

Eugenia Flynn

Consultant

Eugenia Flynn is a Larrakia, Tiwi, Chinese Malaysian and Muslim woman who grew up in Adelaide, South Australia. She has extensive experience working with her multiple communities across government and the not-for-profit sector, including with the Ebony Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Institute. As a writer and academic, she has been published widely on topics such as Indigenous politics and affairs, race and whiteness, gender and feminism, and arts and culture.

Within the arts and cultural sector, Eugenia has most recently worked with Australia’s national museum of screen culture ACMI, Ilbijerri Theatre Company and Peril Magazine. Eugenia is a Consultant at ABSTARR Consulting.

Oliver Tye

Consultant

Ollie is a Wardandi Noongar man from Ngunnawal Country, Canberra with connection to the south-west of Western Australia. Ollie holds a Bachelor of Science majoring in Anthropology and has worked in policy and strategy across government, community control and the NGO sector.  He has worked with grassroots programs and practice right through to high level policy and strategy to make enduring change.

Ollie is a Consultant at ABSTARR Consulting and is heavily influenced by strong community mentors and is motivated by a keen interest in philosophy, politics and history as they apply to the place of First Nations in Australia and the world. Ollie takes a relational approach to problem solving and strategy aimed at producing cultural shifts in both people and structures.

Nioka Thorpe-Williams

Office Manager

Nioka is a Gunditjmara, Gunnai, Yorta Yorta and Wiradjuri woman. Born and raised in Naarm (Melbourne) on Wurundjeri country.

Nioka has grown with strong Aboriginal connections on both sides of her family and guided by her strong beliefs and knowledge of Aboriginal community control and self-determination.

Nioka’s strengths are in Administration and program development.  She has been employed across a range of services including project and policy coordination, community engagement, Aboriginal Early Years, Aboriginal Archives, State government and Infrastructure. Nioka is the Office Manager based in Naarm, supporting the ABSTARR teams across the Nation.  Nioka is ABSTARR’s office manager.

Pam Kaur

Executive Assistant

Pam is English with family heritage from the Punjab region of India and has been an Australia citizen for over 10 years. Pam lived on Gadigal Land for 13years and currently live on the lands of the Boonwurrung Peoples of the Kulin Nation.

Pam is an experienced C-Suite Executive Officer with multi-disciplinary exposure including finance, professional services, for purpose and non-for-profit sector. Pam has a certificate in Prince2 Project Management and ACEM Executive certificate in Event Management.

Pam is the Executive Assistant to the CEO at ABSTARR and brings passion and expertise in translating her skills into actionable outcomes that deliver to business needs and enhance productivity and team culture.

Holly Regan

Junior Consultant

Holly is a non-Aboriginal woman of English and Irish heritage, raised on Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Country. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Indigenous Studies, Holly is committed to continuously learning and deepening her understanding of the historical, cultural, and social challenges faced by First Nations people since colonisation. Holly is currently studying law and is driven by her mission to critically examine and challenge the white legal frameworks to dismantle systematic barriers and advocate for Aboriginal sovereignty and self-determination.

In her role at ABSTARR and as a paralegal at the Victoria Aboriginal Legal Service, Holly is acutely aware of the importance of centering Aboriginal voices in decision-making processes and has a profound respect for Aboriginal ways of knowing, being and doing. Holly is dedicated to challenging the status quo and is deeply committed to the ongoing journey towards de-colonisation. Holly is a junior consultant at ABSTARR.

Luther Lyon

Junior Consultant

Luther is a non-Aboriginal man with English, Scottish and American family heritage. He was born and raised on Boonwurrung Country and now lives on the lands of the Wurundjeri.

With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Australian Indigenous Studies, Luther has committed to understanding the ongoing impacts of setter-colonisation on First Nations people and communities and continuing to unlearn racism.

Recently, Luther graduated with a Master of Social Policy, where he completed his thesis investigating the exploitation and misappropriation of Indigenous knowledge in Australia’s bush food industry. As such, Luther is passionate about Indigenous food sovereignty as a driver for Indigenous-led social change, resurgence and nation-building.

Jump up and travel with the light…

In the dreaming, before there was any light, two young fellas were walking along in the dark. One decided to stay in the dark, and one chose to jump up and travel with the light. That’s you… shooting star. You decided to jump up and travel with the light.”

Uncle Arthur Peterson, Waanyi Elder, 1990