Representatives from all the major parties, as well some of the Indigenous candidates who are contesting the federal election, have come face-to-face with representatives of Indigenous organisations to discuss some of the big issues facing Indigenous Australians.
23 Aug 2013 - 7:25 PM  UPDATED 26 Aug 2013 - 2:01 PM

Senator Doug Cameron, Andrew Charles Laming and Senator Rachel Siewert were among the politicians taking questions from NITV's Awaken audience on the key Indigenous issues in this election - including the Northern Territory Intervention and the concept of justice reinvestment.

First Nations Party candidate Rosalie Kunoth-Monks says there is still a lot of anger of how the Northern Territory Intervention was implemented.

"The intervention declared war on Aboriginal people. They came out with army police and also the public servants. We knew that we were enemies of the Australian community." 

"It happened that we we were approached with the army, the police and the police were armed. Now what is that the kind of thing to do to your minority group who knew nothing about it."

Coalition spokesman on Indigenous Health Andrew Laming says the Labour Party is to blame.

"The Coalition had five political minutes in 2007 with the intervention before it became the bureaucracy-go-round under Labour. And we've watched like you aghast for six years at the lack of consultation," Mr Laming says.

"So what effectively happened is that in Aboriginal Australia you had Labour politicians saying what a terrible idea it was. But in mainstream Australia, down here in Sydney they're telling everyone they're going to be tough on Aboriginal policy. And this dichotomy has never been fixed."

Independent Ribnga Green from South Australia says the frustration levels in Indigenous communities has been steadily rising over the past two decades.

"One of the reasons I'm running is because I'm frustrated at things not being delivered," Mr Green told NITV's Awaken.

"If I were to close my eyes and take myself back to 15 to 20 years (ago), I would be hearing the same things. I'm still hearing the same thing. And that is the great disappointment with where things are at the moment.

"I am standing as an independent because am I think I can make a difference. Parliament needs diversity. How many Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders are there in Parliament? You hear the rhetoric yet the statistics say something else."

One of the topics debated was the future of justice reinvestment in Australia.

New figures revealed today show that 51 percent of kids in NSW jails are Aboriginal even though Aboriginal children represent 2.5 percent of the state's population.

The statistics were revealed in NSW Parliament Estimates in response to questioning by Greens MP David Shoebridge.

National statistics show Aboriginal adults are jailed at 14 times the rate of non-indigenous people - and 31 times for Indigenous juveniles.

You can watch Awaken every Friday on NITV at 6pm.