• Palawa Elder Uncle Michael Mansell says there needs to be an Aboriginal voice in Tasmanian parliament. (Elliana Lawford, NITV)Source: Elliana Lawford, NITV
Palawa lawyer Michael Mansell hopes the establishment of a body would move things along.
Madeline Hayman-Reber

9 Aug 2017 - 11:44 AM  UPDATED 9 Aug 2017 - 11:46 AM

A Palawa lawyer and representative of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre has called for a new national body to be established to help move along recommendations from Uluru.

Michael Mansell is urging others to consider it as an option before the current momentum is lost.

“We already know that we’ve lost the issue of a referendum because the Prime Minister showed a complete lack of interest in it, but that leaves us with a treaty, a treaty commission, and a body to oversee a treaty,” Mr Mansell told NITV News.

“Before we can get to that stage, we need a credible, broadly representative national political body that can advocate for the Uluru agenda.”

Mr Mansell says having groups of representatives from the Torres Strait and each state and territory who are derived from pre-established organisations is a way a body could be created relatively quickly.

“[If] we establish a reasonably credible and transparent process, where perhaps you could get the land councils in the Northern Territory to nominate someone from the Territory… You could get the legal service and the land councils from New South Wales to do the same,” he said.

“The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre is the largest organization down here so it could nominate, the Aboriginal Legal Rights Service could be the same, and so on.”

Mr Mansell added that it could also be a group of individuals who have played an active role in constitutional recognition.

“It can be a broad based group but it has to be put together quickly because we’re starting to lose momentum,” he said.

The job of the body would be to represent the state, with its main task to be to carry forward the mandate given at Uluru.

“It’s representing the views of 250 delegates at Uluru, so in that sense, it doesn’t really matter who the people are, as long as they work to carry out the mandate,” he said.

But he says in order to establish such a body, Indigenous Australians are going to have to ‘bite the bullet’.

“Now it’s not going to be perfect, but as long as the people nominated go back to the communities and report on the progress they’re making in trying to carry forward the Uluru agenda, then it doesn’t really matter who’s doing it, so long as the people are being aware of what’s being done,” he concluded.

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