Jobs Events Advertise

Senate inquiry launched as Greens seek to enshrine UN Indigenous rights declaration

Giovanni Torre -

A Bill introduced by Federal Greens senator Lidia Thorpe to bring Australian law into line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples could offer protection to Aboriginal heritage, supporters say.

Ms Thorpe, a Gunnai, Gunditjmara and DjabWurrung woman, described the Bill as the first step towards implementing the Declaration into Australia's laws, policies and practice.

Significantly, the Senate also passed a motion to establish an inquiry into the application of the Declaration.

Ms Thorpe said Australian governments had been making decisions "about us, without us" for too long.

"Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will put First Nations people back in the driver's seat, so we can control our own destiny," she said.

"The Declaration... is about First Nations people having the final say on First Nations affairs. It's about protecting our right to free, prior and informed consent on what happens to our Country, our culture and our people."

When the UN General Assembly voted on the declaration in 2007, Australia was one of only four of 147 countries to oppose it.

In 2009 the Rudd Government adopted the Declaration, but did not take any action to implement its principles in Australia.

In July 2017, while bidding for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, the Australian government pledged to support the Declaration, but no mention was made in any Closing the Gap reports until late 2021.

"Senator Payne said in 2007 that something as important as the UNDRIP should not be rushed. For 15 years, successive governments have failed to act," Ms Thorpe said.

Viliwarinha Yura Aboriginal Corporation member Regina McKenzie has been fighting to protect areas on the traditional lands of the Kuyani and Adnyamathanha people in the western Flinders Ranges, where drilling and other works were carried out despite assessments having found significant sites and artefacts.

"I believe if we get the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples made into law here in Australia it would give recognition to our cultural heritage rights, our beliefs," she said.

"Australia was a diverse country before colonisation, the land of many nations and diverse cultural aspects. This declaration talks about the rights of our nationalities. I am a Yuratu. That is something we want recognised.

"We ourselves have been saying we need this in for a long time. I have been lobbying a lot of politicians, state and federal, trying to get the UN declaration put into effect."

Ms McKenzie said there was no real protection to stop events like the destruction of Juukan Gorge.

   Related   

Elaine Crombie set to bring the house down with Aboriginal Comedy All Stars
Pitjantjatjara, Warrigmal and South Sea Islander woman Elaine Crombie is set to...
Joseph Guenzler 12 Apr 2024
Coroner puts justice department on notice over inquest
A coroner has expressed alarm over the "unlivable, disgusting and inhumane" cell...
Aaron Bunch 12 Apr 2024
Jungaji releases new heartfelt single 'River Girl'
Gugu Yalanji songman Jungaji has released his new single 'River Girl'. The trac...
Joseph Guenzler 12 Apr 2024

   Giovanni Torre   

Aboriginal Housing and Homelands conference to tackle key issues in the top end
Aboriginal housing leaders, workers, residents and supporters will gather in Mpa...
Giovanni Torre 4 Apr 2024
NT Aboriginal justice agency warns boosting police numbers won't solve Territory's problems
The NT's leading Aboriginal justice agency has raised concerns that the boost in...
Giovanni Torre 3 Apr 2024
Martu people set out new vision for climate-appropriate housing and community infrastructure
Martu people living in remote communities in the Western Desert have set out a n...
Restoring good relations with land needed to respond to climate crisis, Indigenous experts say
Responding to the climate crisis must include restoring relationships with the l...
Aaron Hemens 3 Apr 2024