Essentials for Social Justice

Between December 2007 and November 2008 the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma, delivered a series of key speeches setting out an agenda for change in Indigenous affairs.

 A compilation of these speeches is now available:

The six 'Essentials' speeches are as follows:

11 December 2007: Sorry

The importance of apologising to the stolen generations and an agenda for responding to Bringing them home. Speech given at the launch of 'Us Taken-Away Kids'

Tom Calma & the Hon Jenny Macklin

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma and Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, The Hon. Jenny Macklin MP
  • More photos from the launch

20 February 2008 : Reform

The NT intervention; making whole-of-government approaches work, improving government accountability and ensuring the participation of Indigenous peoples in decisions that affect them.

31 March 2008: Protecting Indigenous Children

Aboriginal children – wherever they live in Australia – deserve a future in which they have the same opportunity as other children to thrive, develop and enjoy life.

11 June 2008: Close the Gap

Achieving health equality within a generation and the Close the Gap campaign, and creating an equal life chance for Indigenous children.


Family violence and child abuse, Aboriginal customary law and community governance, criminal justice and deaths in custody.

The future


Will review progress of the new Rudd Government on Indigenous issues in its first five months and outline an inter-generational approach to Indigenous affairs planning and service delivery.

7 July: Land and culture

Economic development, environmental issues, 99-year leases, land rights and native title.

12 November: The future

Wrapping up the series this speech looks back on the first eight months of the Rudd Government’s performance on Indigenous affairs and looks forward to the challenges of the coming years.


Updated February 3, 2009 .