ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES

The Greens (WA) acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as the original inhabitants of this country, have a special cultural and spiritual connection with the land and water. We believe that their rights and obligations as owners and custodians must be respected. We hold that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a right to self-determination and political representation, and must be partners in the development and implementation of public policies, programs and services that affect them.

The Greens (WA) hold that all Australians, including those living in remote communities, have a right to essential government services including health, education, training, housing, community infrastructure, employment support and policing. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should have the same life expectancy and living standards as other Australians.

Aims
The Greens (WA) want:

  • recognition, promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • to ensure that Western Australia complies with and effectively implements all its obligations to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, in consultation and cooperation with them.

Measures
The Greens (WA) will seek to address the failure of successive State and Federal governments to achieve equity between non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples in Australia. We will work to promote policies that guarantee the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to self-determination by legislation and actions that:

  • ensure that obligations towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples arising from international treaties and conventions on human rights1 are fulfilled at every level of decision-making
  • recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our nation’s constitution
  • implement, in both spirit and letter, the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, Putting the Picture Together (the Gordon report), Bringing Them Home and the Aboriginal Customary Laws Final Report of the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
  • close the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other West Australians and ensure community owned health services are central to the delivery of health services (see also The Greens (WA) Health policy)
  • work to reduce the unacceptable rate of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples including implementing the concept of  justice reinvestment (see also The Greens (WA) Justice policy)
  • change laws and policies that disproportionately impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (such as the Northbridge Curfew and mandatory sentencing of young people)
  • amend the Electoral Act to develop procedures that allow itinerant people to remain on the electoral roll
  • change electoral laws to support affirmative action to facilitate Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander peoples representation
  • ensure that Western Australia’s Auditor General audits the performance of Government agencies responsible for service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples communities at least every three to five years and provides additional resources to achieve this
  • implement local, community driven, culturally-appropriate programs to address issues such as deaths in custody, domestic violence, substance abuse and stolen generations issues
  • seek the return of items of cultural heritage to the rightful owners and custodians (see also The Greens (WA) Arts & Culture policy)
  • prevent and address the misappropriation of artefacts and stop international export of such artefacts without the permission of the relevant communities

(See also the Australian Greens Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples policy)

 

Footnotes
1. These treaties include:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • The International Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and
  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • The Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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Authorised by Lynn MacLaren © 2017

Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC - Member for South Metropolitan Region Legislative Council, Parliament of Western Australia