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What happened to the problems of the indigenous population during the federal election campaign?


Responsibility for housing rests largely with state and territory governments, but Turner said the next Commonwealth government should provide a stronger coordinating and stimulating role.

The latest national data for 2016 showed that about 20 per cent of homeless Australians were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island residents, accounting for just 3.3 per cent of the total population. Indigenous people are seven times more likely to live in overcrowding, and about a quarter of Aboriginal people using homeless services were under 10 years old. More than half were under 25 years old.

The coalition has allocated $ 408 million to improve housing in remote aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, and $ 150 million through Indigenous Business Australia to help it issue housing loans under the Indigenous Property Program. Other regions did not receive funding for indigenous housing. He has allocated $ 25 million for the Commonwealth’s first plan to close the gap.

Labor, following the coalition, has allocated $ 100 million for housing in remote indigenous communities.

“The Labor’s Housing Australia Future Foundation will supply 30,000 social and affordable homes across the country. Over the first five years, it will also provide $ 200 million for repairs, maintenance and housing improvements in remote communities of the first nations, ”said Linda Bernie, a spokeswoman for the Australian Indigenous opposition. Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

But, according to advocates, the housing shortage of indigenous peoples is often as relevant in urban areas as it is in remote settlements. Victoria has the highest and fastest growing level of Aboriginal people seeking help from the homeless service in Australia – 17 percent. Forty-four percent of this cohort turn to service providers when they are already homeless.

As of 2021, Indigenous people make up 30 per cent of all Australian prisoners.

The Greens’ broad housing policy is the “massive construction” of about 1 million “most-targeted” homes, which the party acknowledges are often communities of the first nations.

“We expect that our massive construction of 1 million homes in 20 years will have a long way to go to increase access and affordability for the peoples of the first nations,” a Greens spokesman said. The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Prison complex

Jamie McConaughey, executive at the National Legal Service for the Torres Strait Aborigines, said the over-representation of first nations in the criminal justice system was also not mentioned during the campaign.

Protesters against the death of Aboriginal people in prison in 2020.Credit:Rath Wymans

McConaughey said she was “devastated” by the coalition’s recent federal budget, which continued the trend of underfunding the legal services of Aboriginal and Torres Strait residents and legal services to prevent domestic violence at a time when the share of first nations in the criminal justice system was at the time of the crisis.

McConaughey describes it as a “terrible lack of investment”.

Between 2020 and 2021, the number of Aboriginal prisoners and residents of the Torres Strait increased by 8 percent. The number of detainees from the first nations also increased. As of 2021, Indigenous people accounted for 30 per cent of all Australian prisoners.

More than 500 Aboriginal deaths in custody were recorded after the Royal Commission to Aboriginal Deaths in Detention submitted its final report in 1991, and governments did not follow all its recommendations.

McConaughey says her organization is looking for a commitment of at least $ 390 million for its first-nation justice package, which includes 20 percent more funding to reflect demand for services. Among the claims is equality of pay with national legal aid, whose employees receive 20-24 percent more than those who work in the aboriginal services, says McConaughey.

The over-representation of first-nation nationals in the national criminal justice system is the result of a complex fabric of cross-cutting issues, and, as with housing and health care, many of these major problems are in the hands of state and territory governments. But they require urgent coordination at the federal level, defenders say.

McConaughey says Indigenous legal advocates want all Australian governments to abide by the human rights treaty known as OPCAT – Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which would protect aborigines held in prisons or police cells from torture or other cruel punishment such as prolonged isolation and isolation, especially of children .


Another key complaint is the age of criminal responsibility, which remains in most jurisdictions for 10 years old. In 2019-2020 alone, 499 children between the ages of 10 and 13 were imprisoned, of whom 65 percent were Aboriginal or Torres Strait children. Lawyers, including McConaughey, say the age needs to be raised to 14, which is the average worldwide.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended 14 as a minimum. Last November, the Australian Attorney General’s Council agreed to a plan to raise it to 12, but the ACT is still the only jurisdiction that has committed to raising the age from 10 to 14.

The coalition does not support raising the age of criminal responsibility for the crimes of the Commonwealth and states that jurisdiction is largely left to the states and territories. He set aside $ 9.3 million from his funding to close the gap between the legal services of Aboriginal and Torres Strait residents “for costly and complex cases and to support criminal justice reform through participation in colonial investigations.”

Labor says $ 79 million to expand justice reinvestment initiatives such as Murunguk project in Burka, which offers community support services as an alternative to imprisonment. Labor has promised to fund 30 or more communities to set up these initiatives, as well as to provide more funding for the legal services of Aboriginal and Torres Strait residents. Labor has vowed to set up an independent unit to reinvest in national justice and provide $ 13.5 million in legal services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait residents to ensure that the families of the first nations who have lost a loved one in prison can be held accountable. and representation in coronary processes. He wants to create a consolidated real-time report on the deaths of the first nations in prison at the national level. Labor has also provided $ 1 million to build capacity and support the leadership of the National Legal Service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Residents, and is resuming $ 3 million to support the National Forum of Legal Services to Prevent Domestic Violence.

The Greens say they will raise the age of criminal responsibility to “at least 14” and establish independent prison and police oversight, mechanisms repeatedly called for by police and abolitionists and advocates for indigenous prisoners. The party also undertakes to follow all the recommendations of the Royal Commission, as well as the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Maintenance and Protection of Children in the Northern Territory.


The discussion of the “Voice of the Indigenous People” in this election was largely driven by the Greens ’decision to change their support for Uluru’s statement from the heart.

At the start of the Green campaign, leader Adam Bandt described the “Voice, Treaty, Truth” sequence advocated by Uluru’s statement as a “mistake.” Speaking at ABC Insiders In the middle of the campaign, the Greens then claimed that his party supported Uluru “fully”, but with a significant caveat that truth must come firstthen a contract, with the “Voice” component last.

Green leader Adam Bandt with Senator Lydia Thorpe.

Green leader Adam Bandt with Senator Lydia Thorpe.Credit:Paul Jeffers

The Greens based their views on the Victorian process, Bandt said. That same week, the co-chair of the state’s First National Assembly, the indigenous representative body responsible for drafting the rules under which the treaty will be conducted in Victoria, agreed with the help of a lawyer The Yorruk Justice Commission said that the state’s relationship between the Assembly and the Treaty and the truth-telling processes were “largely a copy of what Ulur’s statement from the heart asked for.”


The position of the Morrison government since 2019 has been to give parliament an alternative to the model of the constitutionally enshrined voice of the indigenous population. He recently allocated $ 31.8 million to establish regional and national advisory bodies to help develop the non-legislative “Voice of Government” indigenous people. He did not rule out a referendum on the Voice – the only way to amend the constitution – but said he would do so only when the time came and a clear consensus was reached.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has this week pledged to hold a national referendum on this issue in his first term. He said he would speak with Uluru’s statement wholeheartedly “in full”, including the establishment of a Macarat commission to work with the “Voice in Parliament” on the national treaty process.

“Labor is the only political party that seeks to comply with the Uluru Statement in full. The Albanian Labor government will soon embark on a referendum to constitutionally secure a vote in parliament in our first term. Five years after the Uluru Statement was presented to the Australian people, there should be no more delays, ”said opposition spokeswoman Linda Bernie.


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