Elders, consensus to guide future for Indigenous Australians

Release Date: 
30 May 2019
Media release

I am honoured to be Australia’s first Aboriginal Minister for Indigenous Australians and am committed to pragmatic action that draws together all levels of expertise – from local Elders to Ministers – to build a better future for our people and for Australia as a whole.

I thank the people of the electorate of Hasluck, the Prime Minister and all Australians for this opportunity and I am committed to honouring our Australian nation, our Indigenous people, our traditions and our shared heritage.

As we say in the traditional Noongar of my ancestors: “Ngyung moort ngarla moort, ngyung boodja ngarla boodja’, which translates as “My people our people, my country our country”.

I aim to work towards a national consensus on, and commitment to, Indigenous Australians and respect for Indigenous cultures.

I will also seek to establish Circle of Elders meetings, to air local issues, to hear about what is working and to receive regular input directly from Elders, families and communities.

As the Prime Minister has said, our Government’s priorities for Indigenous Australians are: To see our children attend school and achieve the best education possible; to ensure our people - particularly the young - do not take their own lives; and to work together to establish and expand real jobs and opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

I am committed to the safety and security of our people and our communities and I will continue to work hard to ensure Indigenous Australians enjoy the same standard of health and access to health services as any other Australian.

Our Government is committed to recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the Constitution, while delivering critical, practical outcomes to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

There needs to be more work done on what model we take to a referendum - which is why we are funding a consultation process with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

This process will develop up a question for a referendum and what a referendum will deliver.

To support this, we have committed $7.3 million for the comprehensive co-design of models to improve local and regional decision making and options for constitutional recognition.

I will oversee this work – which will commence immediately - to provide a model and pathway to a successful referendum.