“As a health professional it beggars belief that COAG can meet on this yet the Referendum Council work and Uluru outcome ‘Voice Treaty Truth’ is not raised,
It highlights that politicians and policy makers do not understand Closing the Gap is inextricably linked to Voice Treaty Truth.
Structural reform is the missing ingredient in addressing disadvantage and the fact that no one at COAG acknowledged that shows they have no idea what they are doing.”
Ms Anderson will use the annual Charles Perkins oration tonight (October 25 ) to say the almost complete silence from government — five months after the Uluru constitutional convention recommended the advisory body — proves its urgent need.
See NACCHO Uluru Statement earlier this year
Establishing a proposed Indigenous parliamentary advisory body would mean Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were “at last in the main building, not in the demountable out the back”, a frustrated Lowitja Institute chair Pat Anderson will say.
Her address will come on the heels of Cape York lawyer Noel Pearson furiously lashing out at white Australia’s failure “to take responsibility for your country” on the issue. “I’m angry about the intransigence and the lack of responsibility taken, angry that our people are constantly seeking the sentiment of Australia and not getting a response,” Mr Pearson told a packed Sydney Institute gathering on Monday.
Ms Anderson will question why a COAG meeting this week specifically addressing indigenous issues, including recalibrating the Closing the Gap targets, failed to address constitutional reform.
See our NACCHO post for COAG Communique earlier this week
She co-chaired the council appointed by Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten to make concrete proposals. The ‘Voice Treaty Truth’ slogan refers to the three key issues identified in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, formalised at the end of the three-day convention in May.
They were the constitutionally enshrined body to provide an indigenous “voice” to parliament, as well as formal treaty-making and truth-telling processes.
The Law Council of Australia yesterday threw its “full and unqualified support” behind the call for a parliamentary body, which would have no veto powers and would not constitute an extra chamber of parliament, but whose role would be merely to advise governments.
“We are calling for genuine commitment from all parliamentarians to implement the Referendum Council’s recommendations swiftly,” Law Council president Fiona McLeod SC said. “The Law Council considers (them) to be a necessary and important step towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ self-determination.”
Referendum Council member and East Arnhem Land leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu warned Mr Turnbull at the Garma cultural festival in August that he would press him to act on the Referendum Council recommendations. Mr Turnbull has questioned whether the plan was delivered with enough detail, but Ms Anderson will say tonight that “the details of how to establish such a body would need to be carefully negotiated with the parliament once its establishment was agreed through referendum”.