Indigenous representative body forming

ABC Radio National
Commissioner explores options for new Indigenous body

AM – Wednesday, 17 December , 2008 08:20:00
Reporter: Sara Everingham

TONY EASTLEY: The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma, has dismissed his critics who say he’s not the right man to set up Australia’s next Indigenous representative body.

The Federal Government has appointed Mr Calma to oversee the establishment of the body that will advise it on Indigenous affairs. He’ll chair the committee of around 100 people that will shape the new body. He is speaking here with Sara Everingham about how the body will work.

TOM CALMA: One of the options is some form of a statutory authority, with some legislative powers. It could be a committee of the Parliament; it could be quite an independent body. So, there’s a whole range of options and we’ll explore those and at the end of the day produce a report to Parliament.

SARA EVERINGHAM: What do you think is the best option?

TOM CALMA: Look, I’ve got a very open mind, I think it needs to be a body that has, you know, credibility, that’s able to develop an enduring relationship with government, and also with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the nation. So that we can be party to all the processes that have an impact on our lives.

So, there’s a lot of merit, I believe, in having an organisation that is part of the Parliamentary structure through one of the committees that reports to Parliament or to the Government at a very senior level.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Some of your critics say ….

Full story