National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples

Date: 
Saturday 12 July 2008 to Monday 30 November 2009

The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples has now been incorporated and eight founding directors have been appointed.

The new national Indigenous representative body was announced in November 2009.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has been very proud to have assisted with the early creation of the National Congress through the work of the previous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma.

A number of reports related to the research and background to the National Congress can be found on the Commission website including those relating to consultations and deliberations managed by the Steering Committee.

Creation of the new national representative voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was an incredible undertaking and accomplishment for the Steering Committee.

On behalf of the Commission I would like to thank and congratulate them for their commitment and achievement.

Mick Gooda

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner

For announcement of the National Executive please see their media release at: http://humanrights.gov.au/about/media/media_releases/2010/41_10.html

For information on members of the National Executive and Ethics Council go to www.humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/repbody/bios_national_congress_first_peoples.html

For media inquiries relating to the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples please contact Aaron Ross on media@nationalcongress.com.au

For information on the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples go to: www.nationalcongress.com.au


NIRB Summary Report March 2009

Adelaide Workshop Summary Report (March 2009)



Building a sustainable National Indigenous Representative Body – Issues for consideration

On 12 July 2008 the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma, released an issues paper outlining key considerations in the development of a new National Indigenous Representative Body.

The issues paper addresses the following three questions:

  • First, what lessons can be learned from mechanisms for representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at the national, State/ Territory or regional level that have previously existed or that are currently in place?
  • Second, what lessons can be learned from mechanisms for representing Indigenous peoples that have been established in other countries?
  • And third, what options are there for ensuring that a National Indigenous Representative Body is sustainable?

The research identifies the many and varied issues that need to be considered in the formulation of a new representative body. It does not propose a model for the body itself.


Other materials on National Indigenous Representative Structures

Since 2004, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner has considered issues relating to the need for a National Indigenous Representative Body as well as monitoring the post-ATSIC ‘new arrangements’ for the administration of Indigenous Affairs.

For an outline of events that led to the dismantling of ATSIC, and an overview of the challenges in implementing the ‘new arrangements’ for the administration of Indigenous affairs, see Chapter 3 of the Social Justice Report 2004.

For a review of the importance of Indigenous representation in government policy making and service delivery, see Chapter 3 of the Social Justice Report 2005.

For an evaluation of the capacity for Indigenous engagement and participation in policy making under the ‘new arrangements’, see Chapter 3 of the Social Justice Report 2006.


Further Information

The following materials by the Social Justice Commissioner are also relevant to discussions about a new National Indigenous Representative Body.

  • Essentials for Social Justice: Reform (Speech by Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and National Race Discrimination Commissioner, 20 February 2008 Brisbane).