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7 Things Indigenous Australian Leaders Want To See Right Now

“Aboriginal people should be allowed breathing space.”

1. Recognition in the Constitution.

Daniel Munoz / AAP

The Labor Senator for the Northern Territory Nova Peris wants Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people to be recognised in the Constitution.

She told the main Garma Festival on Monday: “I don’t want to be going out there begging white fellas to recognize us because you’re killing us, you’re killing our spirit.”

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described 2014 as a year to have a “national conversation” about constitutional recognition.

2. More pre-school and primary school resources.

Alan Porritt / AAP

The Prime Minister’s Chief Advisor on Indigenous Affairs told BuzzFeed the one issue the government needs to do better at is pre-schooling and primary school education.

“We need to get more Aboriginal children into pre-schools and primary schools,” Mr Mundine told BuzzFeed.

Asked what can be done in the area, he simply replied, “we need more resources.”

3. Protection from domestic violence.

ABC 7:30 / Via abc.net.au

The Northern Territory politician Bess Price has become the main voice campaigning against domestic and family violence following the “dozens of female relatives who have been killed” in Aboriginal communities.

“More needs to be done to combat the scourge of domestic and family violence in Aboriginal communities,” Ms Price told BuzzFeed.

4. To keep the Racial Discrimination Act intact.

Alan Porritt / AAP

The Western Australian Coalition MP Ken Wyatt told a Garma Festival panel the issue of racial vilification remains one of the most serious issues to Indigenous Australians.

He’s flagged possibly crossing the floor if the Government moves changes to the Racial Discrimination Act:

“All people who are subject to racial vilification will need that protection; one day Caucasian Australians may need that act because they are in the minority.”

5. Full control of ancestral land.

AAP Image

Senior Gumatj elder Djawa Yunupingu told the Garma Festival audience that it’s time for the Yolngu people to be given full control over ancestral lands and move on from the lands rights agreements of the 1970s.

“The only way for land to come to life is for the clan leaders who own the land to be given control of it,” Djawa Yunupingu told the festival forum.

“Today we are ready to take back what we own and start to use the riches of the land.”

6. Learn from the Jewish experience.

One of the Prime Minister’s most trusted advisors on indigenous policy Noel Pearson has given a stirring speech to the Garma Festival, saying Australia should learn from the Jewish experience.

“They are engaging in all kinds of ways, in the ways of the world. And yet at the centre of their society is a gravitational pull of their communal identity and religion. Why can’t we be the same?” said Mr Pearson.

Mr Pearson is developing a new policy framework for the Federal Government aimed at letting communities embrace development and yet, still keep culture at the heart of the Indigenous experience.

7. Breathing space.

Charles Darwin University / Via ext.cdu.edu.au

The Northern Land Council CEO Joe Morrison told BuzzFeed it’s about getting “breathing space” from authorities.

“(We need to) consolidate gains from the Land Rights Act and turn those wins into economic, social and cultural benefits.”

The NLC and Mr Morrison are working with northern Aboriginal communities to make that happen.

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