Indigenous Empowerment Summit: Social Justice Commissioner Outlines 5-Year Agenda for First Nations Peoples

Australia, Human Rights


At the 4th Indigenous Empowerment Summit, held in Meanjin (Brisbane), Social Justice Commissioner Katie Kiss outlined her tentative 5-year agenda for First Nations Peoples. As the newly appointed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, Kiss aims to focus on key priorities such as the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

The UNDRIP, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007, provides a framework for analyzing and advocating for the rights of Indigenous peoples. Kiss emphasized the importance of utilizing the Declaration to address human rights issues, including education, juvenile justice, economic empowerment, and self-determination.

Additionally, Kiss highlighted the need for transformative engagement between governments and First Nations peoples at all levels. She emphasized the significance of the three pillars of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, namely Voice, Treaty, and Truth, in establishing a reframed relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Access to justice and the unfinished implementation of recommendations from key reports and royal commissions, such as the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the Bringing them Home Report, are also key areas of focus for Kiss. She aims to work closely with the National Children’s Commissioner and engage with sector stakeholders to address systemic racism and structural disadvantage.

Furthermore, Kiss emphasized the need for reform in the native title system, cultural heritage, and environmental management, including climate change. She hopes to build a connected leadership capability among First Nations peoples, bridging the gap between generations and promoting coordinated action.

In conclusion, Kiss encouraged the active engagement of First Nations individuals, communities, and organizations in shaping her agenda. She called for input on various platforms, including face-to-face consultations, surveys, and submissions. By utilizing the UNDRIP and addressing key priorities, Kiss aims to empower Indigenous communities, advocate for their rights, and create transformative societal change.