Respected nationwide as ‘the father of reconciliation’, the great Yawuru Elder Senator Uncle Pat Dodson has spent 40 years championing justice and working to advance our peoples’ rights.
Most recently, Senator Dodson chaired the Commonwealth Parliament’s inquiry into the application of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Australia (see below for more detail). His departure from politics on 26 January, after more than seven years as a Senator, represents a profound loss to the Commonwealth Parliament.
While Senator Dodson enjoys his well-deserved retirement on Yawuru Country and takes care of his health, we urge the Parliament and the Albanese Government to take action and fulfil his vision. Our inherent rights as the First Peoples of these lands are still not fully realised – but this can, and must, change.
Joint Standing Committee publishes UNDRIP report
After a 20-month inquiry, the Commonwealth Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs released its eagerly-anticipated report examining the Application of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Australia on 22 November 2023.
Lowitja Institute was thrilled to see the report make some powerful and wide-ranging recommendations, including for:
- developing a National Action Plan outlining an overarching approach to implementing the UNDRIP in Australia
- an independent national process of truth-telling and agreement-making (something for which our peoples have advocated strongly for decades) as a mechanism to support healing and assist implementation of the UNDRIP
- amending the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth) to include the UNDRIP within the scope of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights’ formal scrutiny of legislation.
We were moved by the words of Uncle Pat, Chair of the Joint Standing Committee, in the report’s foreword:
‘In the wake of the referendum result, Australia appears at a crossroad with respect to how to navigate Indigenous issues. I believe that the enhanced application of UNDRIP and the general acceptance of these rights as a fundamental component of our democracy is where we must start.’