• Protesters with placards participate in The Global Strike 4 Climate rally in Sydney. (AAP)Source: AAP
Here's what the week in politics delivered for the Indigenous community.
By
Shahni Wellington

Source:
NITV News
20 Sep 2019 - 5:40 PM  UPDATED 20 Sep 2019 - 5:40 PM

1. Councils forced to hold ceremonies on January 26

Most elected officials will be boarding their planes and farewelling Canberra as the sitting week comes to an end.

Immigration Minister David Coleman is still grinding away though, announcing the government’s new Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code.

Dozens of local councils have cancelled Australia Day celebrations out of respect for Indigenous people.

For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the date marks the beginning of European settlement and is referred to as 'Invasion Day' or 'Survival Day.'

The government's new rules will force local councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26. It also ‘encourages’ all organisations conducting the ceremonies to incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elements.

"Australia Day is a chance for all Australians to celebrate our successful multicultural nation," Mr Coleman said.

"We want as many people as possible to receive the privilege of citizenship on January 26."

2. Dodson says 'we’re in the dark' on Indigenous recognition

Ken Wyatt, the minister for Indigenous Australians, stood side-by-side with WA Senator Pat Dodson last week at Parliament House listening the all-female Aboriginal choir Spinifex Gum.

While the choir’s song was one of unity, Mr Dodson made clear his patience was wearing thin.

He told the audience: “The minister and I often don’t see on the same page, but we do have to get clear the recognition of the First Nations.”

It was this moment that set the stage for Senator Dodson’s address at the first National Aboriginal Press Club event this week.

“It’s been 10 weeks now since the Minister for Indigenous Australians fronted the National Press Club here in Canberra and announced that a local, regional and national voice would be delivered, and that Indigenous Australians would be recognised in the Constitution, after a process of true co-design,” he said.

“There’s no momentum, we’re going nowhere, we’re in the dark.”

Mr Wyatt travelled to Switzerland this week to address the UN Human Rights Council.

He spoke about the importance of truth-telling and how the government is working on ‘resetting’ its relationship with Indigenous people.

“We have set ourselves a goal to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of Australia,” Mr Wyatt said.

He said the Australian government would be soon be talking to Elders and Indigenous communities about how this might work.

“This is too important to rush, and too important to get wrong,” Mr Wyatt said.

“Although we have already started walking our journey to change the way we protect and uphold the rights of Indigenous people, we know healing won’t actually start until we recognise and acknowledge where our country began.”

3. 'Lies' about climate change

Coalition MP Craig Kelly has told the thousands of Australian students who took to the streets to demand stronger action on climate change that "everything you are told is a lie".

"The facts are, there is no link between climate change and drought, polar bears are increasing in number," Mr Kelly said during Question Time in Parliament on Thursday.

"Today's generation is safer from extreme weather than at any time in human history," he said.

“I understand how persuasive that peer group pressure can be for teenagers and their desire to conform and fit in with the crowd.”

“However, I would say to any student considering joining the so-called climate protest, don’t be a sheep and think for yourself because you are being used and manipulated and everything you are told is a lie.”

On the same day, a group of Torres Strait Islanders invited Prime Minister Scott Minister to visit their homes so he can "witness for himself the climate impacts in the region".

"We will have to move away from our islands," said Kabay Tamu, a representative of the islanders. 

"It will be like colonisation happening all over again - being disconnected from our traditional lands. And when you get disconnected, you lose all of your culture and your tradition."