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.