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Labor has won the election and the Greens may have power. What now for Indigenous Australians?

Tom Zaunmayr -

So Labor has won and Anthony Albanese will guide Australia for the next three years.

This is good news for First Nations people, first-and-foremost in the fact we will have a referendum on a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution by 2025.

By putting a nation-changing Indigenous policy front-and-centre of its campaign, Labor showed how serious it is about First Nations issues.

It was in stark contrast to the Liberal-National party which did not even have a First Nations platform listed on its policy website.

The talk has been promising, now it is time for action.

Suring up the Voice - how it will look, who will be involved and when the vote will happen is priority number one.

Truth and treaty, the other two key elements of the Uluru Statement are as important to get to work on.

Bringing the Federal Government back to the table in funding remote housing is critical, and Labor now needs to follow through to put an end to the "lifestyle choices" saga started by ex-prime minister Tony Abbott. $100m is a good start, but does not go far enough for longterm policy.

The Federal pullout from remote housing has led to myriad issues and it will be interesting to see over the next five years how money flowing into these communities is reflected in health, education and justice outcomes.

There are some areas team Albo has been left wanting.

Labor's campaign policies on justice and deaths in custody were lacklustre and remain a point of concern.

The money pledged for remote justice initiatives is chicken feed and is insufficient for one region, let alone the entire nation.

The promise to bring a stronger Indigenous voice to deaths in custody cases lacks detail.

First Nations people, who could not be more vocal about this issue if they were standing next to Albo with a megaphone, have been clear that decisive, urgent action is required in this space.

Climate action in the Torres Strait Islands remains a sticking point too.

We heard plenty about long term plans for a net-zero economy, but nothing about what will be done for communities being swallowed by the sea right now.

Without short-term infrastructure fixes, the first climate refugees to mainland Australia may very well be our own Indigenous island nation inhabitants.

This is an area the Greens could use their newfound power in parliament to force change for good. With as many as four seats likely for the Greens, they could well be in a position to use their numbers to get their concerns on the table.

We certainly hope this is the case, and that they use this to make Labor compensate victims of the Youpla funeral insurance scandal.

Overall we are hopeful of a good relationship between the new government and Indigenous people, let's just hope the action can match the words.

Tom Zaunmayr is the National Indigenous Times editor.


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