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  • The vulnerability of Native Title?

    Posted 19/06/2015 by Kirsty Magarey

    Queensland v Congoo [2015] HCA 17, a recent High Court case, has implications for Native Title holders throughout the country.  It may also have implications for the High Court’s management of cases with an even number of judges.

    Recent changes in personnel within the High Court have led to a number of decisions being made with a bench of six, rather than the full seven, judges.  This has in turn led to some decisions being made with a 3:3 split.  In such cases, under section 23 of the Judiciary Act 1903, the decision being appealed from is left intact. The resulting judgments may be referred to as having a ‘statutory majority’, which offers less precedential value than a traditional, numerical majority. 

    While the existence of a statutory majority in the Congoo case makes the lessons we can learn from it more precarious, the judgments still offer illumination. Thus Congoo provides an understanding of Native Title as a more robust form of title that can survive particular forms of temporary occupation.

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    TAGS: High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title

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  • Aboriginal advantage: an insider look at an Aboriginal community

    Posted 9/06/2015 by Fiona Caldwell
    Dr Lawrence Bamblett
    In his National Reconciliation Week lecture to the Parliamentary Library, Dr Lawrence Bamblett, Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, proposed an alternative way of understanding life in Aboriginal communities through the concept of Aboriginal advantage. He declared, ‘You can all do a lot to help us by changing the way that you talk about us’. Dr Bamblett’s academic, teaching and community development work explores relati... Read more...

    TAGS: Indigenous Australians, Indigenous education

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  • Procurement strategy for Indigenous business: The Canadian experience, and lessons for Australia

    Posted 27/03/2015 by Philip Hamilton

    It has been estimated that, in 2012–13, Indigenous businesses secured only 0.001% of the overall Australian Government spend (around $6.2 million of the $39 billion spent). This is despite a specific provision in the Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs) to encourage procurement from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with at least 50 per cent Indigenous ownership. The ANAO will report on the administration of current procurement initiatives in support of Indigenous Australians in a performance audit to be tabled around June 2015.

    Following up on a recommendation made in Creating Parity (the Forrest Review), on 17 March the Government announced that by 2020 the Commonwealth will have three per cent of its procurement contracts with Indigenous suppliers.

    The Government has indicated that Canada has ‘successfully used procurement to significantly drive economic development for First Nations people.’ Since 1996, the Canadian Government has operated a Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB). How does the PSAB work? What are the lessons for Australia?

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    TAGS: Canada, procurement, Australian Public Service, indigenous Australians

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  • Closing the gap in Indigenous health

    Posted 19/03/2015 by Dr John Gardiner-Garden
    19 March is National Close the Gap Day, an annual event coordinated by Oxfam Australia to highlight the significant gap in health status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. For the origin of the day, the non-government campaign behind it and the Council of Australian Government (COAG)’s National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA) and its ‘Closing the gap’ strategy see an earlier FlagPost. Extent of the gap According to the Australian Institute of Health and Wel... Read more...

    TAGS: Indigenous health

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  • The Forrest review and 'cashless welfare'

    Posted 15/08/2014 by Luke Buckmaster
    One of the more contentious elements in Andrew Forrest’s recent Indigenous Jobs and Training Review was the proposal for a for ‘cashless welfare’ system, provided through what he calls a ‘Healthy Welfare Card’. This FlagPost outlines key aspects of the proposal, highlighting where it differs from both the current income management system and Australia’s welfare arrangements in general. What is proposed? The Healthy Welfare Card would be based on the Basics C... Read more...

    TAGS: income management, welfare, indigenous Australians

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  • Parliamentary Library Lecture—Aboriginals in the First Australian Imperial Force, a secret history

    Posted 3/06/2014 by Nicole Brangwin

    On 28 May, the Parliamentary Library hosted a public lecture by Gary Oakley, the Indigenous Liaison Officer at the Australian War Memorial. Mr Oakley’s ongoing research into Aboriginal service during the First World War painted an absorbing picture of the experiences of Aboriginals serving in the First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF) as well as dispelling a number of preconceptions.  

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    TAGS: Indigenous Australians, military history

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  • The Racial Discrimination Act: Insults, Timing and Debate

    Posted 6/06/2014 by Kirsty Magarey

    The varying nature of insults and their context, along with a question as to whose standards they should be judged against is discussed in the Parliamentary Library’s recently issued Research Paper ‘The Attorney-General’s suggested changes to the Racial Discrimination Act’. One of the changes proposed by the Attorney-General would change the standards by which insults are to be evaluated. The law as it stands takes into account the perspective of the racially distinct person being insulted when considering the impact of that insult, whereas the proposed changes would confine judges to considering the ‘ordinary, reasonable’ Australian with no reference to a ‘particular group’. This change and its associated issues is one of four specific changes that would be made under the Attorney’s suggestions that are explored in the paper.

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    TAGS: Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians

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  • Extending income management in Cape York

    Posted 29/11/2013 by Luke Buckmaster
    Legislation introduced into Parliament last week proposes to extend operation of income management in Cape York for a further two years until the end of 2015. This will be the third time income management has been extended in Cape York since it began in 2008. The Government argues that income management is a key element of welfare reform efforts in Cape York, which it says have 'seen improved school attendance, care and protection of children and community safety'.Cape York income managementInco... Read more...

    TAGS: employment, income management, indigenous Australians, welfare, welfare reform

    Comments (2)
  • National Close the Gap Day

    Posted 19/03/2013 by John Gardiner-Garden
    Closing the gap developed out of the call in Tom Calma’s Social justice report 2005 for Australian governments to commit to achieving equality for Indigenous people in health and life expectancy within 25 years. In March 2006 some non-government agencies came together to develop a National Indigenous Health Equality Campaign and in April 2007 a Close the gap campaign was launched.In December 2007 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) committed to closing some key gaps and in March 2008 ma... Read more...

    TAGS: Indigenous, indigenous Australians

    Comments (0)
  • Indigenous Expenditure Report 2012

    Posted 5/09/2012 by John Gardiner-Garden
    The just released 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report estimates expenditure by all levels of Government on services to Indigenous Australians. It is the second in a series (the first being released in 2010) which examines inputs into Indigenous service delivery and which is intended to complement the longer running Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage reports which examine outcomes in this same area. Both reports are currently produced by the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Servic... Read more...

    TAGS: indigenous Australians

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