We welcome the opportunity to provide a submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee’s Inquiry into the application of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Australia (the Inquiry).
The Federal Government should develop a national program to implement UNDRIP and schedule it to the definition of human rights in the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth), so that all new legislation is assessed for compatibility with it along with other foundational international human rights instruments.
The articles of UNDRIP, such as the right to self-determination, free, prior and informed consent, and the right to economic empowerment, must guide the process that is taken to implement UNDRIP in Australia (term (b)). This can be effectively realised through the Federal Government, amongst other things:
a. establishing a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the form outlined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart (Uluru Statement);
b. observing and respecting existing decision-making representative organisations in Australia, such as the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria; and
c. establishing a mechanism that affords First Peoples free economic independence and autonomy to ensure First Peoples bodies can negotiate with the State on UNDRIP implementation on a level playing field.