Our vision for reconciliation

Reconciliation involves justice, recognition and healing. It’s about helping all Australians move forward with a better understanding of the past and how the past affects the lives of Indigenous people today – Reconciliation Australia.

The ALRC sees reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians as comprising both processes and outcomes. Both of these things require meaningful and ongoing dialogue between Indigenous peoples and the ALRC. For the ALRC, respect for Indigenous peoples; participation and representation of Indigenous peoples; and consideration and understanding of issues that are important to Indigenous peoples are essential features of the journey to, and achievement of, reconciliation in Australia.

The ALRC recognises that our RAP needs to achieve practical outcomes. Therefore, we commit under our RAP to:

  • engage and consult with Indigenous groups, individuals and organisations;
  • promote Indigenous representation in the ALRC workforce and internship program;
  • promote a meaningful understanding of issues relevant to Indigenous peoples amongst ALRC staff;
  • consider the impact on Indigenous peoples in developing recommendations for reform; and
  • strive in all aspects of our work to protect and promote the rights of Indigenous peoples.

The ALRC shares the Australian Government’s commitment to ‘a future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity’ and acknowledges that the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments ‘have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians’ (Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples 13 February 2008).

The ALRC recognises that historically the Australian legal system has failed to deliver equitable social and economic outcomes for Indigenous peoples. As a law reform body, the ALRC has the opportunity to contribute to social justice, equity and inclusion in Australia. The ALRC commits to building trusting relationships with Indigenous peoples, while recognising that building relationships and trust takes time and requires resources. The ALRC will take account of this in the way it organises its activities and priorities.

Our business

Promoting informed government decisions about the development, reform and harmonisation of Australian laws and related processes through research, analysis, reports and community consultation and education.

Our RAP

The ALRC’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) has been developed with input from ALRC staff, and the ALRC President and Commissioners. The ALRC has a RAP Committee that is chaired by the Executive Director, with representation from across the organisation. The ALRC’s RAP focuses on relationships, respect and opportunities.

1. Relationships

Consultation lies at the heart of our work. The ALRC relies on contributions from experts, the legal community and individual stakeholders to inform its processes and recommendations for reform. Effective engagement with Indigenous peoples will depend on the quality of the relationships between the ALRC and Indigenous groups, individuals and organisations. 

Focus area

To encourage the participation of Indigenous peoples in the work of the ALRC, we will focus on improving engagement and consultation strategies.

Action Responsibility Timeline Measurable Target
1.1 Maintain a RAP Committee. Executive Director RAP Committee meets quarterly.

Number of times the RAP Committee meets each year.

1.2 Identify opportunities for consultation with Indigenous communities and organisations on ALRC inquiries, where relevant.

When a consultation has been conducted with an Indigenous organisation it will be reported to the RAP Committee.

President

Commissioners

Legal Staff

Ongoing Consultation strategy has been considered for each inquiry which identifies effective consultations where relevant.

1.3 Awareness of protocols for use by ALRC legal staff in all consultations with Indigenous peoples that reflect their diversity of circumstances. This may mean using local Indigenous consultants, interpreters, taking oral submissions and other flexible consultation processes so that Indigenous perspectives and opinions are understood. A checklist that outlines these protocols to be developed. Consult with other organisations that have a protocol of this nature for eg Arts Law Centre.

Legal Staff

To be discussed at the Cross Cultural Training in June 2012.

Checklist developed by end 2012.

Checklist developed and used by legal officers during inquiry consultation processes.

Protocols documented and used in legal officer inductions.  

Protocols considered prior to all consultations with Indigenous communities.
1.4 Provide feedback to Indigenous communities about the results of consultations and/or inquiries in a number of ways including by using the ALRC website, through fact sheets, articles in publications and through conferences and seminars.

President

Commissioners

Legal Staff

Website Manager
Ongoing

Feedback is provided to Indigenous communities on ALRC consultations and inquiry processes and accounted for in the consultation strategy checklist and report.

ALRC website is updated re any consultations with Indigenous communities and any results from inquiries.

1.5 Maintain the currency of the ALRC contact database and ensure Indigenous legal organisations, lawyers and stakeholders are included in ALRC mailing lists and invited to ALRC functions. This should be linked to the consultation strategies in 1.2 as a way to keep our databases relevant and up to date.

RAP Committee

Executive /Project Coordinator

Office Services Coordinator

Ongoing

Database updated and reported on to RAP Committee at its quarterly meetings.

1.6 Invite Indigenous people to participate in Advisory Committees and/or expert panels for ALRC references, wherever possible.

President

Commissioners

At the point that Advisory Committees are set up for inquiries

Consideration has been given to invite Indigenous people to sit on ALRC Advisory Committees and expert panels for all inquiries.

Number of Indigenous people serving on ALRC Advisory Committees.

2. Respect

The ALRC vision of social equity and fairness is underpinned by a respect for all Australians. Respect for Indigenous peoples engenders trust, fosters good relationships and encourages greater participation by Indigenous peoples in ALRC processes, which in turn leads to higher quality and more diverse research and recommendations for law reform.

Focus area

Improve the cultural awareness of ALRC staff, formalise Indigenous policies around the processes of the ALRC and promote the respectful engagement of Indigenous peoples in law reform.

Action Responsibility Timeline Measurable Target
2.1  All ALRC staff to undertake Indigenous cultural awareness training Executive Director June 2012 Staff attend cross cultural training.
2.2  Indigenous Cultural Awareness to be part of the induction for all new staff, and induction materials updated to include Indigenous protocols and policies Executive Director Ongoing

New staff will be made aware of the RAP Committee and Plan.

2.3 Investigate a policy for handling Indigenous material that is culturally sensitive. Utilise policies developed by other organizations where possible

Legal Staff

December 2013 Policy in place, used by staff and published on ALRC website.

2.4 Use the protocol for Indigenous ‘Welcome to Country’ and the acknowledgement of  the traditional owners and ancestors for use at ALRC functions and events

President

Commissioners

Ongoing Number of times the Welcome to County and/or acknowledgment is used at ALRC events and functions.
2.5 Develop a calendar of Indigenous events that can be celebrated and/or acknowledged by the ALRC RAP Committee May 2012

Number of Indigenous events acknowledged  by ALRC.

Number of Indigenous events promoted through ALRC online channels

2.6 Maintain subscriptions to relevant Indigenous magazines, newsletters, and Indigenous law journals

Librarian

Executive Director
Ongoing

Current subscriptions.

2.7 Seek opportunities to support Indigenous businesses whenever possible Executive Director Ongoing Number of Indigenous businesses utilised by the ALRC.

3. Opportunities

The ALRC is committed to creating opportunities for Indigenous peoples to be involved with the ALRC as staff members, interns, advisory committee members and consulted stakeholders in order to enhance our core business of law reform.

Focus area

As the ALRC’s workforce is small and stable, the focus will be on recruitment for the ALRC internship program, and enhanced participation in consultation and advisory processes. 

Action Responsibility Timeline Measurable Target
3.1 Increase the number of Indigenous applicants to ALRC positions—advertise all new jobs and the existence of the ALRC temporary employment register, in Indigenous media, through law schools and the community.  Executive Director Ongoing

Advertisements place in indigenous media and community/legal organisations for each new position.

3.2 Establish an Indigenous component to the internship program at the ALRC and liaise with universities to ensure that an internship with the ALRC is counted as a course credit.

RAP Committee

Internship Program in place by Semester 2, 2013

Number of Indigenous interns working at the ALRC.

3.3 Investigate whether it is possible for the ALRC to establish a relationship with a Sydney-based Indigenous organisation to share expertise.

Executive Director

By December 2012 Advice in place as to whether this is something the ALRC is able to do under its Act and in line with its objective.
3.4 Identify suggestions for new ALRC references of primary interest to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

President

Commissioners

Legal Staff
Ongoing

Suggestions identified and discussed with the Attorney-General’s Department.

3.5 Develop the Indigenous consultation section of the website Website Manager By October 2012 Indigenous section of ALRC website revised and updated.

4. Tracking progress and reporting

Action Responsibility Timeline Measurable Target
4.1 ALRC RAP Committee to meet quarterly to monitor the implementation of the ALRC RAP

RAP Committee

Executive Director
Quarterly Progress on ALRC RAP is reported to the staff quarterly.
4.2 Report progress in Annual Report Executive Director Annually by September each year

Report included in Annual Report.

Report uploaded on ALRC and Reconciliation Australia websites.

4.3 Report progress to Attorney-General and to Reconciliation Australia

President

Executive Director

Annually

Report provided.

4.4 Update RAP RAP Committee Biennial from July 2012

New RAP developed and approved by the ALRC and Reconciliation Australia.

New RAP uploaded on both websites.

 

 

Published on 31 May 2010. Last modified on 29 October 2013.