The ALRC is keen to ensure that Indigenous perspectives, interests and concerns are incorporated into every relevant inquiry. For example, although it may not be obvious from the titles of the projects, the ALRC has considered issues of importance to Indigenous peoples over the last decade or so in the course of its work on: the legal rights of children; uniform evidence laws; sentencing; the protection of human genetic information; Australian privacy law and practice; Royal Commissions of inquiry; and federal secrecy laws.

However, there are particular challenges associatied with consulting effectively with Indigenous stakeholders. How can we broaden our consultation with Indigenous people and encourage more participation in our inquiries?

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Comments (2)

Hi Luke,

Thanks very much for your comment.

In terms of our consultations, we have tended to use different strategies depending on the type and scope of the inquiry we are undertaking (and the recent Family Violence Inquiry is a good example), as some approaches—such as using local Indigenous consultants or interpreters, taking oral submissions, and other flexible consultation processes—may be appropriate for some inquiries but not for others. We do agree with you that establishing a core set of guidelines and principles for consulting with Indigenous communities, across all of the ALRC’s work, is important. It is listed in our RAP as an action item, and it is one we are currently working on. When these protocols are ready we will publish them on our website for the community’s feedback.

Following your suggestion, we have decided to publish the Family Violence Inquiry Indigenous Consultation Plan. You might also be interested in an article the ALRC contributed to the February 2011 edition of the Indigenous Law Bulletin. This article reflects on the ways in which the ALRC engages with Indigenous stakeholders, the ALRC’s work moving forward and the way Indigenous people can be more actively involved in the process of law reform. (We will republish the article on this website shortly).

The other part of your comment refers to the ALRC ‘s “scope for Deaths in Custody”  taken from our other discussion topic, Inquiry selection. To clarify, the items listed there are not ideas the ALRC has actually ‘scoped’. Rather, they are suggestions that have come from the community. We welcome your contribution to that discussion.

Thanks for your input.

Sabina Wynn, ALRC Executive Director

It is disappointing to see that the ALRC has no Indigenous specific Policies listed other than your RAP.

I am curious if there is a logical consideration I am not aware of for not already having established guidelines and principles for working effectly with Indigenous community as is quite common?

I also find it frustrating that your scope for Deaths in Custody revolves around best practice and does not seem to desire input concerning the blatant systemic issues surrounding this decades old phenomena, eg lack of Police cutural awareness; lack of Police Employment/retention; links between school suspension/expulsion rates to juvenile and adult incarceration rates; racism/discrimination/harrassment; refusal to implement key recommendations from both the Bringing Them Home report and the RCIADIC and so on...

Luke P