National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Co-Chairs, Mr Rod Little and Dr Jackie Huggins, believe it is imperative for the Prime Minister to prioritise the establishment of a strong relationship with Australia’s First Peoples at the very start of this new term of government.
“Previous Parliaments have failed to engage effectively with us, and as a result we have not seen sustainable solutions for our people," Dr Huggins says.
"We share the same goals of addressing the disadvantage faced by our people, but we must be involved, we must be at the table when approaches are being developed and decisions made.
“We’re here on the first sitting day of parliament seeking a new relationship with the government based on working with us, not delivering to us.”
The message was delivered in front of a sea of more than 2,500 hands planted in Federation Mall.
Co-chair Rod Little said it was important the government addressed Indigenous concerns with some urgency.
"We’d like a public commitment from the Prime Minister to meet with us within the first 30 days. Further, we want the Prime Minister and relevant portfolio Ministers to join us at a National First Peoples Summit held within the first 100 days of parliament.
“Today’s an opportunity for the Prime Minister to show he has heard us”, he said.
The new federal parliament includes a record-high number of Indigenous politicians. Malarndirri McCarthy joins Pat Dodson and Jacquie Lambie in the Senate, while Linda Burney, the first Aboriginal woman in the Lower House, will work alongside Ken Wyatt.