The ALRC is committed to ensuring that all Australians are able to contribute to shaping the laws that affect them and have the opportunity to participate in the law reform process. The ALRC acknowledges that it must be responsive to the needs of all members of the Australian community.

The ALRC Agency Multicultural Plan sets out the ways by which we can establish meaningful and ongoing dialogue with people from diverse backgrounds. Under this Plan, the ALRC has committed to:

  • engage and consult with diverse groups, individuals and organisations;
  • promote diverse representation in the ALRC workforce and internship program;
  • promote understanding of issues relevant to diverse peoples amongst ALRC staff; and
  • consider the impact on diverse peoples in developing recommendations for reform.

The ALRC’s workplace diversity statement commits the ALRC to foster a diverse workforce and to ensure that its recruitment processes are fair and accessible, including a commitment to attract and recruit people from diverse backgrounds and, wherever possible, to participate in whole-of-APS recruitment programs.

Agency Multicultural Plan (AMP)

The ALRC’s Multicultural Plan commits the ALRC to multicultural access, equity and social inclusion. As a law reform body, the ALRC has the opportunity to contribute to social justice, equity and inclusion in Australia through reform of laws appropriate to the diversity of the Australian community. The ALRC has committed to engaging and consulting with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) organisations and communities and to consider the impact on CALD communities when formulating recommendations for law reform. In this first year of the ALRC’s Multicultural Plan, the ALRC has concentrated on the area of engagement, encouraging CALD communities to engage actively in our consultation processes. As part of this engagement, the ALRC commissioned the translations of some key documents into 21 community languages including Auslan. These materials cover the law reform process and how to make a submission to the ALRC.

The ALRC has also produced two consultation papers in Easy English to assist people with disability and low English literacy to engage with the Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws Inquiry. In addition, the ALRC has produced two podcasts that outline the issues canvassed in the Issues Paper, and the proposals and questions contained in the Discussion Paper, so as to provide greater access to these consultation documents to people with disability. These podcasts are available on the ALRC website.

The ALRC’s AMP is available on the ALRC website. A report against the ALRC 2012–13 AMP is at Appendix M.

Reconciliation Action Plan update

The ALRC sees reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians as comprising both processes and outcomes—requiring meaningful and ongoing dialogue between Indigenous peoples and the ALRC. Respect for Indigenous peoples, participation of Indigenous peoples in ALRC inquiries, and consideration and understanding of issues that are important to Indigenous peoples, are considered essential features of the ALRC’s commitment to reconciliation.

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 has a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) that was developed in 2009 and is reported on and updated biennially. Our reports are published on the ALRC website.

The ALRC recognises that its RAP needs to achieve practical outcomes. Therefore, the ALRC commits 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 has developed consultation strategies that assist in identifying Indigenous stakeholders for particular inquiries. The ALRC is committed to ensuring that  our consultation strategies reflect the diversity of circumstances of indigenous communities and, where possible, the ALRC will take special measures to ensure that our processes are accessible and open, including using interpreters or Indigenous consultants, taking oral submissions and adopting other flexible consultation methods. For example, the legal team has produced a brief document, Review of the Native Title Act—At a Glance, aimed at the general community, that explains in plain language what the inquiry is about and encourages people to make a submission.

The ALRC consults with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations and individual on its inquiries to ensure that Indigenous perspectives and experience are considered when formulating proposals for law reform. During 2013–14, the ALRC consulted with 30 Indigenous organisations with regards to the Inquiry into the Native Title Act 1993.

The ALRC provides 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. The Native Title legal team attended the National Native Title Conference in June 2014 and presented a paper on the Native Title Inquiry, seeking feedback and engagement from the conference delegates. Commissioner for the Native Title Inquiry, Professor Lee Godden has also done a number of interviews with Indigenous radio stations including:

  • Larrakia Radio, Darwin, 27 November 2013
  • ABC Radio Darwin, 27 November 2013
  • Bumma Bippera Media, Cairns, 28 November 2013
  • CAAMA, Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association, 21 March 2014
  • Larrakia Radio, Darwin, 21 March 2014
  • Aboriginal Message Radio Program, Radio Adelaide, 29 April 2014
  • ABC Radio Kimberley, 30 April 2014
  • National Indigenous Radio at the National Native Title Conference, 3 June 2014

The ALRC celebrated National Reconciliation Week attending an event at the Australian Government Solicitors Office.

A report against the ALRC 2012–13 RAP is at Appendix N.