Peak Aboriginal Body Call For Collaboration With Abbott
31 August 2018 at 5:29 pm
A peak body for Indigenous children and families is calling on the newly appointed Special Envoy for Indigenous Affairs, to “work alongside” communities to create positive change for Aboriginal people.
SNAICC, The National Voice for Our Children made the announcement on Friday, following the appointment of Tony Abbott as special envoy for Indigenous affairs, a new role created by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Abbott was offered the position of envoy after being left out of the ministry.
A spokesperson from the organisation said any politician “tasked with a responsibility” to Aboriginal people “carries a great deal of influence”
“As a key decision-maker, their choices directly impact children and families. Appointments to such roles cannot be taken lightly,” they said.
SNAICC invited Morrison, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, and Abbott to meet with them and other key Indigenous bodies such as the National Congress of Australia’s First People (NCAP), to discuss how the federal government would support community-led solutions.
“We know what has to be done. We have been asking for self-determination for years, and to date no government has really attempted to take on this challenge,” SNAICC said.
“Ask Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations how to work with our people. Collaborate with us. Listen to our voices, and you will hear the answers.”
On Monday, NCAP voiced their opposition to the appointment of Abbot as envoy, and demanded “the cynical thought of appointing Abbott…for the sole purpose of attempting to quell factional divides”, be abandoned.
NCAP co-chair, Jackie Huggins AM said it was important to reflect on Abbott’s “history of supporting harmful, paternalistic policies relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs”.
“This is the man who systematically dismantled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, cut over $500 million from our services, attempted to silence NCAP by removing its funding,” Huggins said.
“Mr Abbott’s sole accomplishment was robbing our peoples of our right to self-determination.”
As reported by AAP, Morrison said he believed Abbott would do well in the role, as he had experienced his “passion” for Indigenous affairs first hand.
“When you focus on the outcomes, which I know is what Tony is doing, that makes him the right person,” he said.
SNAICC said it hoped the government would collaborate with the organisation, and in particular make progress on issues that affected children and families.
“Now, more than ever, we need a prime minister who is going to be a champion for our children’s rights,” it said.
“If, as suggested, a special envoy on Indigenous affairs is focused on improving the lives of vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, working alongside our community-controlled organisations seems a logical start.”