Have your say about a National Indigenous Representative Body - Submission WS10
Objectives and principles
- Are there objectives or principles (not identified in the community guide paper) that should guide the national representative body?
I agree with the objectives and in particular with the last dot point. However, I would like to add that Torres Strait Islanders should also be equally participating in all the processes
Roles and functions
- Are there roles and functions (not identified in the community guide paper) that the national representative body should perform?
I agree with the roles and functions stated.
Representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities
- How should the national representative body be informed by developments at the local and regional levels?
- Should it include regional representative mechanisms as part of its structure? If so, how would they operate?
- What other mechanisms should or could the representative body use to engage at a regional and local level?
Regional representative mechanisms should be included as part of its structure. There should be links with local governments and possibly state governments. Expertise and representation could be drawn from the local government structure and vice versa.
- How should the national representative body engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at a state/territory level?
There should be an opportunity at the state/territory level for regional voices to be heard. Members of the national rep body should consult regarding issues and report back to community.
- How should the national representative body provide a voice to Torres Strait Islanders, including those living on the mainland?
The chairmanship should be co-chaired by both an Aboriginal person and a Torres Strait Islander person. Alternatively, the Chair or Deputy Chair should be Torres Strait Islander.
If the representative body is to truly represent both Indigenous peoples of Australia then there should be designated seats for Torres Strait Islanders. This should also be reflected with the executive of the body. The designated seats should ensure that both Torres Strait Islanders from the region and the mainland are represented.
Refer to Torres Strait Islanders: A New Deal, a report on greater autonomy for Torres Strait Islanders at http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=/atsia/tsi/TSI.PDF
- What mechanisms should the national representative body use to ensure that traditionally marginalised groups (such as people with disabilities, members of the stolen generations and young people) have a say in the new body?
Encourage nominations and representation on the body. Alternatively invite experts and/or representatives in those areas to provide advice to the national rep body.
Structure of the National Representative body
- How should the members of the national representative body be selected? Should it be by election or delegation, or a combination of these? Please explain or draw how your preferred model would operate.
Members should be selected through a combination of the delegate and election model. Individuals and organisations could nominate individuals.
Membership changes each term with one third remaining to retain knowledge. Former members are able to advise and mentor their replacements. A term for members should be three years.
A national panel or board could select the membership of the National Representative Body. Anyone could nominate themselves or others to the national panel or board. The Minister could select membership of the national panel or board ensuring diversity and that both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are represented.
- What skills and experience should candidates for positions on the national body possess? What processes should be used to determine whether a candidate has these skills and is appropriate to be selected?
Members should have life and work experience and be able to demonstrate this.
Relationship with government and the Parliament
- How should the national representative body be established? What relationship should it have with government and the Parliament? What potential limitations and constraints may result from the body being established and operating in a particular way
The body should be established as a statutory authority. As a statutory authority it would be legislated and report to Parliament. Its functions would outline the relationship with government. The implications and constraints would be around funding.
- How should the national representative body be funded to ensure that it is sustainable?
The body should receive funding through a combination of the four outlined responses.