First Nations Peoples

First Nations 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 Government must negotiate a treaty or treaties with the sovereign First Nations peoples of the lands.  
  2. The Australian Constitution must acknowledge the prior and ongoing occupation and sovereignty of First Nations peoples and their right to land, water, sky and resources.
  3. First Nations peoples continue to have a strong cultural and spiritual connection with the land, waters, sky, flora and fauna, and their rights and obligations as custodians must be respected.
  4. Australia must comply with international instruments that recognise the rights of First Nations peoples including the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  5. First Nations Peoples have a right to self-determination and political representation as guaranteed by the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and should be enabled to lead in the development and implementation of public policies, programs and services that affect them.
  6. First Nations 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 traditional lands, waters and sky, in accordance with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity
  7. Where First Nations peoples have been dispossessed of traditional lands, waters and sky they have a right to redress and reparations through measures that assist them to acquire, reclaim, 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 specific and culturally safe justice systems.
  9. First Nations peoples are entitled to the same outcomes in health, life expectancy, education, employment and living standards as other Australians.
  10. Governments must address the continuing impact of the unjust treatment of First Nations peoples and make reparations to the Stolen Generations and those affected by the Frontier Wars.
  11. It should be a national priority to work with local First Nations communities and national and state peak organisations to reduce the number of First Nations Peoples entering the criminal justice and child protection systems.

Aims

The Australian Greens want:

  1. A treaty or treaties that recognises the continuing occupation and sovereignty of First Nations peoples.
  2. Governmental policies and practices to respect the right of First Nations 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 First Nations 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. Implementation of a Truth and Justice Commission.
  5. Equality of access to essential services and development opportunities.
  6. Equality of outcomes for First Nations 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 First Nations peoples.
  7. Self-determining, community-controlled, and adequately resourced health, housing, social services, infrastructure and legal services for First Nations peoples.
  8. Increased resources in both community-controlled health services and mainstream health services and prioritisation of programs to improve First Nations peoples’ preventative health and children's health.
  9. Family violence and abuse addressed through First Nations community initiatives and networks, alcohol and other substance abuse initiatives, Aboriginal Women's Legal Services, and safe houses.
  10. Genuine opportunities for First Nations employment and enterprise development in remote, rural and urban communities and an end to disempowering work for the dole measures.
  11. Culturally appropriate education for First Nations peoples, which incorporates language and culture into curricula and supports families and children to engage with the education system.
  12. An education system which enables First Nations peoples to establish and control their own education systems where they choose to do so, in their own language, consistent with their culture.
  13. Government to provide more support to increase the number of First Nations peoples entering higher education.
  14. Support for, and recognition of, local and national First Nations representative bodies determined by First Nations peoples and increased representation of First Nations peoples in all levels of government and other decision-making roles.
  15. Quality services and resources for First Nations peoples based on local language, cultural aspects and community priorities. These services to employ qualified community members where possible.
  16. Local-language and cultural interpreters available in courts, hospitals, clinics, and government meetings when needed.
  17. Programs for the needs of First Nations young people to be treated as an essential service.
  18. Urgent action to end institutional care, while supporting self-determined and negotiated options of family support, community care and kinship care.
  19. The urgent repeal of the Stronger Futures legislation.
  20. The revoking of compulsory income management and any other measures which directly and indirectly discriminate against First Nations peoples.
  21. Fair compensation for First Nations peoples where property has been taken from them or wages have been withheld.
  22. Effective heritage protection laws and bodies that:
    1. protect all aspects of First Nations 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 First Nations peoples;
    5. ensure items of First Nations cultural heritage are returned to and managed by their rightful owners and custodians;
    6. include adequate funding of First Nations groups to conduct research in support of heritage claims; and
    7. ensure that First Nations peoples play a fundamental role in land and heritage management.
  23. A fair, accessible, cooperative and effective native title system for First Nations peoples, which is consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and international human rights law
  24. The right of First Nations peoples to sustainably hunt, fish and gather native flora and fauna in line with traditional cultural practice.
  25. 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)
  26. Comprehensive strategies to address the impacts of climate change on First Nations peoples.
  27. First Nations peoples in regional and remote areas to achieve and sustain food and water security.
  28. Long-term, recurrent, sustainable funding for a national First Nations peoples’ Land and Sea Ranger Program for Indigenous Protection Areas and Native Title determined areas
  29. To reduce the unacceptable rate of incarceration of First Nations peoples, including implementing the concept of justice reinvestment and justice targets into closing the gap target strategies.
  30. 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.
  31. The creation of a representative body of First Nations peoples by First Nations peoples, with an advisory role to all levels of Government.

(Resolved: National Conference May 2018)