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The Declaration dialogues

Aboriginal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
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40,000 is a long time - mural at Redfern, NSW

If we are serious about implementing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, an overarching policy framework based on human rights standards is essential to ensuring a holistic approach that addresses the needs and priorities identified by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

A national conversation progressed through a series of dialogues was conducted in order to ensure the principles and rights outlined in the Declaration are fully integrated into the Australian Indigenous policy landscape.

The purpose of these proposed Dialogues was to:

  • raise awareness of the Declaration with all stakeholders, particularly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait community, including how it was developed and adopted, the rights it contains, and how it can be used
  • reach a consensus on the need to implement the Declaration
  • develop an agreed approach to give full effect to the Declaration between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, governments and other relevant stakeholders
  • facilitate discussion between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, governments and other relevant stakeholders regarding the ‘principles’ underpinning the Declaration and what they mean in a practical context
  • develop a National Strategy on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Declaration Dialogue Series provide a mechanism to develop a comprehensive National Strategy. The Declaration Dialogue Series was informed by a range of consultative mechanisms including:

  • a set of focused discussion papers
  • a survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ views on the Declaration
  • high level meetings with governments and key industry stakeholders 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community dialogues
  • development of the Declaration website as a tool to inform the public about the Declaration.

By encouraging dialogue between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, governments and other stakeholders, we must move beyond the rhetoric of ‘support’ for the Declaration and work towards achieving its purpose:  to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Australia’s Indigenous peoples.

Giving full effect to the Declaration provides us with an opportunity to move beyond the stalemate that is currently frustrating positive development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. Not only will it provide a positive mechanism for overcoming the disadvantage faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it will place us front and centre in progressively realising this challenge.

Finally, this is not something that will happen overnight. This is a journey that requires a long-term commitment by both governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to work together to achieve a common goal: improvement in the lives and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

What can you do?

  • You can write to us with your views
  • You can talk about the Declaration with your community and then tell us about what they think
  • You can Get It, Know It, Use It (the Declaration) by visiting the website.