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Signatory and advocate for the Uluru Statement from the Heart

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Thomas Mayo is a Kaurareg Aboriginal and Kalkalgal, Erubamle Torres Strait Islander man. He lives on Larrakia land in Darwin and is the elected Assistant National Secretary of the MUA.

Thomas has more than twenty years of experience in leadership and advocacy, including the development of the Uluru Statement from the Heart in May 2017. He is a signatory to the Uluru Statement and has been a leading campaigner for its proposals for a Voice to Parliament and a Makarrata Commission.

Thomas has been a board director at Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition since 2019, and the Indigenous Literacy Foundation since January 2024. He is also on the steering group for the First Nations Clean Energy Network, influencing clean energy policy and supporting the Indigenous peoples and their communities in policy development, energy access and negotiations.

Thomas is the author of seven books published by Hardie Grant and has many articles and essays published across the major media providers. In 2024, Thomas will be publishing two new books; a children’s book about the Torres Strait Islands flag will be published in May by Magabala Books, and a book about how the campaign for peace and justice for Indigenous people continues after the referendum was lost in 2023.

Thomas was inspired to write his first book: Finding the Heart of the Nation – the Journey of the Uluru Statement towards Voice, Treaty and Truth, after being entrusted to carry the sacred Uluru Statement from the Heart canvas to Australians from all walks of life, soon after its creation in the heart of the country in 2017. This best-selling book is now in a paperback second-edition.

He travelled throughout the nation for eighteen months with the Uluru Statement, taking it to the smallest of communities to large city gatherings, playing a key role in building the peoples movement for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to what it is today. His first children’s book: Finding Our Heart, is a children’s book about the Uluru Statement. It has enjoyed success because of its contemporary art and powerful truth telling with a uniquely clear call to action.

Thomas’ other recent works are a children’s book about the Gurindji Wave Hill Walk Off, Freedom Day – Vincent Lingiari and the story of the Wave Hill Walk-off, co-authored with Lingiari’s granddaughter, Rosie Smiler; and Dear Son – Letters and reflections from First Nations fathers and sons.

In Dear Son, Thomas invites twelve other First Nations men to join him, writing about life, love, masculinity and racism. Thomas writes that Dear Son is a celebration of First Nations men – an act of defiance against everything they were taught about themselves, and the stereotype taught to all Australians.

With respected journalist and author, Kerry O’Brian, Thomas published The Voice to Parliament Handbook that was published by Hardie Grant in May 2023. The book made a significant impact, selling more than 100,000 units in around 6 months, topping the charts for 2023 across many bookstores and online booksellers.

 

Thomas continues to passionately advocate for workers rights and for a constitutionally enshrined Voice. He is the Chairperson of the Northern Territory Indigenous Labor Network, advises the Diversity Council of Australia and the From the Heart campaign, and is an executive member of the Northern Territory Trades and Labour Council. His writing journey continues also, with several books in development.

About

Books, essays and articles by Thomas Mayo

Books

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Essays

A dream that cannot be denied - On the road to Freedom Day. Published online by Griffith Review 20

When the heart speaks - Learning the language of listening in Australia. Published in Griffith Review 70, Generosities of Spirit, 2020

Time to heal: Uluru healing the people and the land. Published in What Happens Next, Reconstructing Australia after COVID-19, 2020

Where truths collide - Challenging Australia’s shaky foundations. Published in Griffith Review 76, Acts of Reckoning, 2022 

Understanding the Uluru Statement: Taking the invitation to the people through the classrooms Journal of Professional Learning 2022

Articles

The opening chapters in:
Ashley Hay (editor), Generosities of Spirit, Griffith Review 70, 2020

Ashley Hay (editor) with Teela Reid (curator), Acts of Reckoning, Griffith Review 76, 2022

Emma Dawson, Janet McCalman (editors), What Happens Next? Reconstructing Australia after COVID-19, MUP, Melbourne, 2020

 

Future publications by Thomas Mayo to look out for:

Thomas Mayo and Bernard Namok Jr, All about the Torres Strait Islander Flag, Magabala Books, 2023

Books and Essays

Articles featuring Thomas Mayo

Articles

Podcasts and Interviews

NITV’s Living Black: Season 25 Episode 8. January 2018 with Karla Grant

Thomas Mayo in conversation with Rabbi Kammins at the Emanuel Synagogue March 2019

Black Magic Woman Podcast Episode 61 with Mundanara Bayles, May 2021

Episode 10: What unity means to author and advocate Thomas Mayo Australia Remade Podcast 

Stories behind the Story with Better Reading Thomas Mayo on masculinity, love and culture with Cheryl Akle September 2021

The Guardian’s Book it in Podcast, about Dear Son with Paul Daley  Tara June Winch and Thomas Mayo on Indigenous Masculinity December 2021

Find your Voice with Zoe Daniel January 2022

Just a bunch of bullsh*t excuses with Abbie Chatfield April 2022

Cathy McGowan and Thomas Mayo speaking from the heart Wayne Jansson, May 2022

ABC Conversations July 2022 with Charlie King

Podcasts

Events

Thomas currently has no upcoming events. Check back here for future updates.

Events
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