RepresentUs - Australia - Think Tank

RepresentUs - Australia - Think Tank

Addressing First Nations Injustice

The starting point for the RepresentUs - Australia - Movement’s policy position towards our First Nations peoples’ is to acknowledge and underline the enormous and positive benefit that the collective cultural wisdom, experience and stewardship that our First Nations peoples contribute to our communities and our nation. The First Nations looked after and protected our environment for well over sixty millennia and recent archeological finds in Western Victoria suggest the First Nations have walked on this land for longer than 120,000 years.

Listening to our First Nations legitimate aspirations and responding in good faith, learning from how our First Nations treated our environment, and their traditional sense of community are all things worthy of reflecting in a fuller expression of Australian nationhood. The RepresentUs - Australia - Movement acknowledges that in traditional indigenous Australian society, community sharing and social resource usage was integral to many Aboriginal nations. At a time of unaffordable housing and social inequity there is a lot we can learn from the First Nations about how to manage social equity in modern Australia.

The RepresentUs - Australia - Movement affirms the important messages of caring, respect and truth telling that the Uluru Declaration has for all Australians. By supporting the First Nation people protecting their legitimate right to country, their culture and values we also support all of us being – and becoming - better than our nation’s past. We do this by acknowledging the First Nation’s contribution to our society, our culture, our rights and our nation.

Principles for Action:

  • The Uluru Declaration should be acknowledged as an important Constitutional document in Australia’s history
  • An attack on justice anywhere is an attack on justice and the rights of everyone in our nation
  • Our First Nation and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands
  • Australia was possessed by our First Nation and Torres Strait Islander tribes under their own laws and customs
  • The spiritual sovereignty that First Nations peoples have with country is not in conflict with the sovereign nation of Australia
  • Acknowledging the spiritual sovereignty of our First Nation’s peoples enriches our communities, our nation and our culture
  • The First Nations peoples have an inalienable right to determine and manage their future
  • A national principles based treaty needs to be drafted to provide the necessary legal framework to inform good faith discussions and negotiations for subsequent individual treaties for each First Nation tribe and clan across all Australian jurisdictions

In the spirit of the Uluru Declaration the RepresentUs - Australia - Movement affirms the following policy positions:

  • A makarrata, truth-telling and healing process must be supported and resourced by our Common Wealth and central government, but facilitated by duly elected First Nations representatives
  • A national principles based treaty agreed upon by duly elected representatives of the First Nations peoples that protects the inalienable rights and links of our First Nations peoples with country needs to be drafted by First Nations peoples and ratified by our Common Wealth representatives
  • Our Federal, state / territory and local governments will support First Nation Peoples’ with well-resourced processes and vehicles for self-determination and self-management in their local communities wherever they may be
  • All self-management initiatives should be self-managed at the local community level, but have appropriate and auditable checks and balances in place

A Blueprint for Positive Change:

The RepresentUs Movement believes that the legitimate grievances and aspirations of all First Nations people’s will be best served by the establishment of an independent Makarrata Commission managed and controlled by duly qualified and elected First Nation representatives.

The independence of this ‘voice’ and ‘action’ for our First Nation’s peoples must be protected by specific reference to it within the Australian Constitution. We further believe that the independence of this body must be protected by providing it with the necessary human and financial resources, which should also include managing all existing federal, state and local council resources currently dedicated to all First Nation policy initiatives so it can:

  • Initiate similar independent state and territory based organisations for implementing a process of self-management and self-determination
  • Establish a treaty commission to provide a Makarrata, (truth telling, treaty and resolution process), that will be supported by a Truth and Justice Commission
  • Inform the necessary changes to the Australian Constitution and / or relevant statutes that will empower all First Nations people to reclaim their rightful place in our nation. Such changes will provide all First Nations peoples, with a clear and strong voice, in leading and managing all public policy - and implementation initiatives - related to their welfare and destiny