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Recommendations: Social Justice Report 2008

Social Justice Report 2008

Recommendations

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In accordance with the functions set out in section 46C(1) (a) of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cth), this report
includes ten recommendations on formal protections for Indigenous peoples’
human rights, four recommendations for remote Indigenous education, and one
recommendation for Indigenous healing. The report also contains one follow-up
action that I will undertake in the next 12 months in relation to providing
advice on a model for a new National Indigenous Representative Body. These
recommendations and follow-up action are reproduced here and appear at the
relevant part of the report.

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander human rights protection
framework for the 21st century

Recommendation 1: Statement of support for the UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples

That the Australian Government make a statement of support in the
UN General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council for the UN Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
as a matter of priority.

Recommendation 2: Schedule the UN Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples
to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
Act 1986 (Cth).

That the federal Attorney General schedule the UN Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
to the Human Rights and Equal
Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cth).

Recommendation 3: Ratification of ILO Convention 169

That the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties conduct consultations,
including with Indigenous peoples, on the desirability of ratifying ILO
Convention (No. 169) concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent
Countries.

Recommendation 4: Government support for Indigenous engagement in Human
Rights Act consultations.

That the Commonwealth Government commits to comprehensive support for
engagement with Indigenous peoples in the consultation process for a national
Human Rights Act.

Recommendation 5: Scope of rights recognised in a Human Rights
Act

That the Commonwealth Government adopt a Human Rights Act that is
comprehensive in its scope and includes:

  • - recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the
    preamble;
  • - the right to self-determination;
  • - economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights;
  • - specific protections for Indigenous peoples where required; and
  • - the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples scheduled as
    a relevant international instrument.

Recommendation 6: Recognition of Indigenous peoples in the
Australian Constitution’s preamble

That the Commonwealth Government undertake national consultations
and begin a constitutional process for the recognition of the special place of
Indigenous peoples in the preamble to the Constitution. Particular
emphasis should be placed on the need for an inclusive, consultative process in
drafting a revised preamble prior to a referendum.

Recommendation 7: Removal of section 25 and making provision for equality
and non-discrimination guarantees in the Australian Constitution

That, in recognition that existing protections against racial
discrimination have been overridden in relation to Indigenous peoples, the
Commonwealth Government begin a constitutional process for the removal of
section 25 of the Constitution and its replacement with a clause
guaranteeing equality before the law and non-discrimination.

Recommendations 8 and 9: Framework for the negotiation of a social justice
package

That the Commonwealth Government commence negotiations on a
framework for the negotiation of a social justice package to address the
unfinished business of reconciliation.

Further, the new National
Indigenous Representative Body, once established, be funded and tasked with
consulting with Indigenous peoples and representing their interests in the
negotiations of a social justice package. The social justice package should be
finalised within 3 years of the establishment of the National Indigenous
Representative Body.

Recommendation 10: Government resource the Australian Human Rights
Commission for community development and community education programs

That the Commonwealth Government resource the Australian Human Rights
Commission to develop and implement a comprehensive community development and
community education programs on human rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples.

Follow-up Action by the Social Justice Commissioner

The Social Justice Commissioner will provide to the Minister for
Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs advice on the
proposed model for a new National Indigenous Representative Body in July 2009.

Remote Indigenous education

Recommendation 11: Provision of comparable education services in remote
communities

That all Australian governments, through the Council of Australian
Governments (COAG) commit to providing education services in remote communities
that are comparable in quality and availability to those in all other Australian
communities.

Recommendation 12: Government develop a remote education strategy and
accountability framework

That the Australian Government, through COAG, develop a remote education
strategy and accountability framework to be embedded in the National Indigenous
Reform Agreement and in the relevant National Partnership Agreements.

Recommendation 13: Audit of populations and projected populations of
remote preschool and school-aged children by statistical sub-division

That COAG initiate an audit of populations and projected populations of
remote preschool and school-aged children by statistical sub-division to be
measured against the relevant education infrastructure and services. That this
audit form the basis of a national, funded plan to upgrade or build quality
preschool, primary and secondary school infrastructure where populations warrant
them.

Recommendation 14: Monitoring and assessment processes for
remote Indigenous education

That the strategy and accountability framework include monitoring and
assessment processes with performance measures, targets and timeframes. Key
areas for reporting include:

  • Provision of education infrastructure at the preschool, primary and
    secondary school levels to meet population requirements by statistical
    subdivision;
  • The establishment of remote education regional partnerships between
    Indigenous stakeholders and service deliverers;
  • Assessments of the remote teacher workforce and its capacity to meet the
    specific requirements of the students cohort; and
  • Recruitment and retention actions to maintain appropriately qualified
    (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) teachers and leaders.

Beyond the Apology - an agenda for healing

That the federal Government establish an independent, Indigenous controlled
national Indigenous healing body following extensive consultation, which is
responsible for developing and then implementing a coordinated National
Indigenous Healing Framework. The Framework should be developed in conjunction
with the Commonwealth and state/ territory governments and Indigenous
organisations and communities.

Recommendation 15: Consultations on and establishment of a national
Indigenous healing body responsible for developing and implementing a National
Indigenous Healing Framework

The national Indigenous healing body should:

  • be based on the key principles of self-determination, respect for human
    rights, reconciliation, and adopt a community development approach that is
    grounded in Indigenous culture and identity;
  • have adequate resourcing for long term community generated, and culturally
    appropriate Indigenous healing services and programs, commensurate with
    need;
  • have a broad range of possible roles and functions including: research,
    public education, capacity building, training, accreditation, policy review,
    public reporting and monitoring and evaluation;
  • engage with state and territory governments to develop a nationally
    consistent approach in the provision of financial redress (compensation) for the
    Stolen Generations.

The national Indigenous healing body should also
be funded to conduct educational activities about Indigenous healing to
Indigenous communities, service providers and relevant government departments to
ensure that the purpose of a national Indigenous healing body is clearly
understood.

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