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Article

Farrago Policy Comparisons #6: Indigenous Affairs

What do the parties and candidates say about the Uluru statement or other policies to support Indigenous Australians?

Content warning: Stolen Generation, racism, discrimination, colonialism, deaths in custody in no excplicit detail.

 

One of the focal points for Indigenous empowerment in Australia is the Uluru Statement from the Heart, created through a conference of Indigenous representatives in 2017. This included three features: a Voice to Parliament (an Indigenous-elected body to advise on and review policies affecting First Nations people), a Truthtelling Commission (to allow Indigenous people to tell their stories and investigate discrimination or human rights abuses) and a Treaty process (to recognise Indigenous sovereignty and claims to the land). This is being replicated on a state level in Victoria with the Truth-telling Yoorrook Justice Commission and work being done on a Treaty.

In terms of representation, there are 7 Indigenous members of Federal Parliament. This includes:

  • Liberal: Ken Wyatt MP (Hasluck)
  • Labor: Linda Burney MP (Barton), Senator Pat Dodson (Western Australia) and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy (Northern Territory), Senator Jana Stewart (Victoria)
  • Greens: Senator Lidia Thorpe (Victoria) and Senator Dorinda Cox (Western Australia)

Jacinta Price is likely to win the 2nd NT Senate position for the Liberals. Meanwhile, Senator Lidia Thorpe leads an all-Indigenous Senate ticket for the Greens in Victoria.

What do the parties and candidates say about the Uluru statement or other policies to support Indigenous Australians?

 

Liberal / National Coalition

Key people: Ken Wyatt MP (Minister for Indigenous Australians).

Ken Wyatt MP is notably the first Indigenous Australian to hold a ministerial portfolio (starting with Health and Aged Care before becoming Minister for Indigenous Australians).

Rather than holding a referendum to enshrine a Voice in the Constitution, the Coalition has had a co-design process for a legislated Voice to Government. This would be easier to create than a constitutional body, but would have relatively limited scope and be vulnerable to legislative removal.  They have also allocated $31.8 million to establish local and regional Voice bodies, building up to the creation of a national Voice body.

More Liberal policies include:

  • Expanding the Indigenous Boarding Schools Grants program and creating a new Commonwealth Regional Scholarship Program.
  • Extending the Custody Notification Services program to provide checks for Indigenous people taken into custody.
  • Another $98 million in funding for the Community Development Program (which Labor wants to replace).

 

Labor

Key people: Linda Burney MP (Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians), Senator Pat Dodson (Shadow Assistant Minister for Reconciliation; and Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians).

Labor supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full. Labor’s priority is holding a referendum to create a Voice to Parliament (which would then advise on how to do Treaty and Truth-telling). 

They plan to work with Indigenous bodies on creating more ambitious targets for the Closing the Gap framework.

Labor has also formulated a "Justice Reinvestment” program with various local initiatives and legal support to address over-incarceration and deaths in custody.

More Labor policies include:

  • Teaching First Nations languages and knowledge in schools.
  • Funding for housing improvements in Indigenous communities.
  • More protections for Indigenous cultural intellectual property.
  • Abolishing the Cashless Debit Card (also known as indue card).

 

Greens

Key people: Senator Lidia Thorpe (Spokesperson for First Nations Peoples), Senator Mehreen Faruqi (Spokesperson for Anti-Racism).

The principles of Green's policies are based on the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). In 2022, the Greens also successfully pushed for an Senate Inquiry into the Application of UNDRIP in Australia.

The Greens core policies (mirroring the Uluru Statement from the Heart) are Truth, Treaty and Voice. A Truth and Justice Commission and a Treaty would raise awareness for a referendum on the Voice, though the Greens policy caused some controversy for putting the Voice last (rather than first).

More Greens policies include:

  • Compensation for Stolen Generations survivors.
  • Stronger laws to protect Indigenous cultural heritage (preventing another event like the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves).
  • Hire more First Nations rangers and expand Indigenous Protected Areas.
  • More legal support and raising the age of legal responsibility to 14.

 

Minor Parties

The Indigenous-Aboriginal Party of Australia is running primarily in NSW. Their policies include constitutional recognition and Treaty, better housing and encouraging traditional land management.

Australian Progressives support the Voice and Treaty processes. They also believe in more financial independence for Indigenous communities.

Fusion also supports implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart, along with changing the date of Australia Day.

Reason Australia emphasises self-determination, including removing the indue card, creating stronger federal protections for Indigenous rights and cultural heritage and following the Uluru Statement.

 

More Information
Mamamia 
https://www.mamamia.com.au/indigenous-policies-2022-election/

Probono
https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2022/04/how-the-election-could-affect-the-future-of-a-first-nations-voice-to-parliament/

 

Sources
Uluru Statement from the Heart
https://ulurustatemdev.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/UluruStatementfromtheHeartPLAINTEXT.pdf

 

Liberal
https://www.liberal.org.au/latest-news/2020/10/06/2020-21-budget-supporting-future-indigenous-australians

 

Labor
https://www.alp.org.au/policies/first-nations

 

Greens
https://greens.org.au/platform/first-nations
https://greens.org.au/policies/first-nations-peoples

 

Indigenous Party
https://www.indigenouspartyofaustralia.com/our-policies

 

Fusion
https://www.fusionparty.org.au/fair_inclusive_society

 

Australian Progressives
https://www.progressives.org.au/indigenous-affairs

 

Reason
https://www.reason.org.au/aboriginal_and_torres_strait_islander_affair

 
Farrago's magazine cover - Edition Four 2022

EDITION FOUR 2022 AVAILABLE NOW!

Saddle up! Farrago’s brand spanking new edition is here! It’s jam-packed with art, photography, news, non-fiction and creatice writing; and it calls on you to “be the cowboy.” “But what does that mean?” you ask. Well, let the wise words of Mitski guide you… ”What would a swaggering cowboy riding into town do in this situation?”

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