A) Dedicated Indigenous Seats

JLN supports dedicated indigenous seats being established for Australian Parliaments.

JLN notes that studies indicate that there are clear links between indigenous wellbeing/disadvantage and the amount of indigenous representation in 4 different countries. (Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America)

Independent Research (BMC International Health and Human Rights) shows that New Zealand which has had dedicated seats in their Parliament for Maori people since 1867 (starting with 4) – has a gap between Maori disadvantage/mortality of 8.5 year and is closing, not widening. This unfortunately compares with a disadvantage/mortality gap between in Australia’s first people and non-indigenous people of 23.2 years – which is widening.

JLN therefore supports a dedicated indigenous seats policy that ensures that every piece of Legislation, which passes through the Lower House and Senate, is spoken to and scrutinized from an indigenous perspective.

Because Australia has 3 to 4% of indigenous people, JLN proposes that our federal parliament should be guaranteed representation by 3 to 4% of elected indigenous representatives. This would mean that proposals to change the Australian constitution to create a new indigenous body similar to the failed ATSI Commission (ATSIC) would not be necessary.

However, JLN agrees that the Australian constitution should be changed to officially acknowledge Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island (ATSI) as the first peoples.

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