Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples | Australian Greens

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a unique relationship with the land and water, and their rights and obligations as custodians must be respected.

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:

  1. The Australian Constitution must recognise the prior and ongoing occupation and sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their right to land, water and resources.
  2. The Australian Government should adopt a treaty or treaties with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a strong cultural and spiritual connection with the land, waters, flora and fauna, and their rights and obligations as owners and custodians must be respected.
  4. Australia must comply with international instruments that recognise the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples including the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  5. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a right to self-determination and political representation, and should be enabled to lead in the development and implementation of public policies, programs and services that affect them.
  6. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the right to retain, and benefit financially from, the cultural and intellectual property and heritage rights invested in traditional knowledge and in the biodiversity of their own lands and waters, in accordance with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
  7. Where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been dispossessed of their lands and waters they have a right to redress through measures that assist them to acquire, own, and/or manage their land, natural resources and waters, in a way that enhances their social, cultural, spiritual, economic and environmental wellbeing.
  8. All Australians, including those living in remote communities, have an equal right to essential government services such as health, education, training, housing, community infrastructure, employment support, and culturally appropriate policing.
  9. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are entitled to the same outcomes in health, life expectancy, education, employment and living standards as other Australians.
  10. Governments must recognise the continuing impact of the unjust treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples and make reparations to the Stolen Generations.
  11. It should be a national priority to reduce the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people entering the criminal justice and child protection systems.

Aims

The Australian Greens want:

  1. A treaty or treaties that recognises the prior occupation and sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  2. Governmental policies and practices to respect the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to self-determination, improvement of their social and economic conditions, to participate in decisions that affect them and to freely determine their development policies.
  3. Protection for cultural and intellectual property rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including their right to practise and revitalise their cultural traditions, customs and language, and resources for community initiatives to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures.
  4. Equality of access to essential services and development opportunities.
  5. Equality of outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on all major indicators of education, training, housing, community safety, employment and living standards within a decade, and to fully close the gap in health outcomes by 2030 within a framework which acknowledges the diverse aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  6. Culturally appropriate, community controlled, and adequately resourced health, housing, infrastructure and legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  7. Increased resources in both community-controlled health services and mainstream health services and prioritisation of programs to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander preventative health and children's health.
  8. Family violence and abuse addressed through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community initiatives and networks, alcohol and other substance abuse initiatives, Aboriginal Women's Legal Services, and safe houses.
  9. Genuine opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and enterprise development in remote, rural and urban communities; and an end to disempowering work for the dole measures.
  10. Culturally appropriate education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which incorporates language and culture into curricula and supports families and children to engage with the education system.
  11. An education system which enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to establish and control their own education systems where they choose to do so, in their own language, consistent with their culture.
  12. Government to provide more support to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples entering higher education.
  13. Support for, and recognition of, appropriate local and national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative bodies elected by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and increased representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in all levels of government and other decision making roles.
  14. Culturally appropriate services and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples based on local language, cultural aspects and community priorities. These services to employ qualified community members where possible.
  15. Qualified local-language and cultural interpreters available in courts, hospitals, clinics, and government meetings when needed
  16. Programs for the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to be treated as an essential service.
  17. The repealing of the Stronger Futures legislation.
  18. The revoking of compulsory income management and any other measures which directly and indirectly discriminate against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  19. Fair compensation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples where property has been taken from them or wages have been withheld.
  20. Effective heritage protection laws and bodies that:
    1. protect all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage including intellectual property;
    2. respect customary law restrictions;
    3. guarantee access to significant sites by people with cultural connections to the site;
    4. ensure that heritage decisions are made by the relevant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
    5. ensure items of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage are returned to and managed by their rightful owners and custodians;
    6. include adequate funding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups to conduct research in support of heritage claims; and
    7. ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples play a fundamental role in land and heritage management.
  21. A fair, accessible, cooperative and effective native title system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which is consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and international human rights law.
  22. The right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to sustainably hunt, fish and gather native flora and fauna in line with traditional cultural practice.
  23. Full implementation of the recommendations of the following:
    1. Bringing Them Home: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families (1997);
    2. The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1991);
    3. The NT Coroner's (1998, 2002), WA Coroner's (2004) and SA Coroner's (2002, 2005) reports on petrol sniffing related deaths;
    4. The Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle (Little Children are Sacred) Report into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse (2007);
    5. The HREOC Social Justice Reports The Senate Community Affairs Committee reports into: petrol sniffing (2006 and 2009); Suicide (2010) and Hearing (2010); Income Inequality in Australia (2014);
    6. Report on the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (1996 'The Evatt Review') with the Social Justice Commissioner to be responsible for the monitoring and reporting on the progress of implementation as part of annual reporting; and
    7. Evaluating New Income Management in the Northern Territory: First Evaluation Report (2014)
  24. Comprehensive strategies to address the impacts of climate change on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  25. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in regional and remote areas to achieve and sustain food and water security.
  26. Long-term, recurrent, sustainable funding for a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Land and Sea Ranger Program for Indigenous Protection Areas and Native Title determined areas.
  27. To reduce the unacceptable rate of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including implementing the concept of justice reinvestment and justice targets into closing the gap target strategies.
  28. Governments to continue to address the unfinished business of reconciliation and the eradication of personal and institutional racism, through support for organisational and grassroots approaches.