New Closing the Gap Agreement Doesn’t Represent Consensus of Indigenous People

30 July 2020: The Federal Government’s announcement of new Closing the Gap targets will continue to leave local Indigenous communities behind, according to Noel Pearson, Professor Megan Davis and Roy Ah-See.

The new system established with the Coalition of the Peaks has no mandate from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and therefore does not represent the views of Indigenous Australians.

Noel Pearson, Director and Founder of the Cape York Institute, said: “These targets are not set by Indigenous Australians because no one gave the Peak Bodies a mandate to represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the negotiation of the targets.

“The only consensus delivered by Indigenous people is contained in the Uluru Statement which called for real, lasting and practical change through a Voice to Parliament.”

Professor Megan Davis, Balnaves Chair of Constitutional Law and Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous UNSW, said: “True self determination cannot be established through providers of essential services in local communities. The only way to achieve this is through structural reform to give Indigenous Australians some power over the decisions that are made about us.”

Many of these service deliverers making up the Coalition of the Peaks are also funded by the Federal Government and as a result will not allow the Government to be truly accountable on policies and delivery to truly closing the gap.

Roy Ah-See, Co-chair Uluru dialogues, Indigenous Law Centre, said: “You are never going to bite the hand that feeds you so how can these organisations be representative if they only receive resources from government.”

Given the failures of the past Closing the Gap system and the entrenched bureaucracy that continues in this current system, the only way to achieve true accountability and deliver substantial change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is through the establishment of an independent, constitutionally-enshrined Voice to Parliament.

Support has been growing in the Australian community for constitutional reform that would deliver meaningful and lasting change and unite the country behind a solution for the many challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

A poll conducted in June 2020 found 56 per cent of respondents in a nationally-representative sample would vote Yes in a referendum on enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Constitution.

The Uluru Statement From The Heart is a rallying call for Australians to work together to get real, lasting and practical change to address the challenges faced by First Australians. Visit www.fromtheheart.com.au or www.ulurustatement.org to learn more.