What are we going to do?

A reflection on ways forward for non-Indigenous South Australians to respond to Indigenous South Australian concerns

Wednesday 19 October 2005

Hawke Centre Focus on Rights lecture series

Presented by

The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, UniSA and the International Human Rights Day SA committee

Audio Transcript

Summary of main issues

The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre has a strong commitment to ensuring that civil society issues are regularly on the public agenda, and is pleased to be co-presenting, with the International Human Rights Day SA committee, this public Forum on Wednesday 19 October 2005.

During this Forum, a number of well informed non-Indigenous speakers will be asked to give their reflections on what things could be done and by whom in the non-Indigenous South Australian community to respond to Indigenous South Australian concerns.

Background: IHRD is celebrated every year on 10 December. At the 2004 International Human Rights Day Roundtable, the invited attendees addressed the topic of “Aboriginal Human Rights in South Australia – Under the Spotlight”.

The 2005 International Human Rights Day Roundtable will address the need for a strategy to create a wider South Australian response to Indigenous Australian concerns.

Our October Forum – What are we going to do? – has been designed to inform the 2005 Roundtable. It will draw on discussions at the 2004 Roundtable and enable presenters to give their personal perspective on ways forward for the non-Indigenous community to improve its responses to Indigenous communities’ concerns.

The following speakers have generously confirmed their willingness to speak and each brings special knowledge to the forum:


  • Dr Peter Ford, Vice President of the Australian Medical Association (SA)
  • Professor Michael Rowan, Pro Vice Chancellor: Education, Arts and Social Sciences, UniSA
  • Ms Jane Sloane, State Manager (SA/NT), World Vision Australia
  • Commissioner Ted Mullighan, Children in State Care Commission of Enquiry
  • Mr Elliott Johnston, Former Commissioner of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1988-1991)

SA International Human Rights Day Roundtable 2005

Advance Discussion Paper endorsed by the SA – IHRD Committee and reflecting Indigenous perspectives provided to the 2004 Roundtable and also by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Adopted and proclaimed by UN General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948

South Australia has a basic responsibility to ensure justice is freely accessible to every Aboriginal person living in his/her own land. It is not the obligation of Aboriginal people to achieve this. Mainstream society must work out how it will deal with what Aboriginal South Australians need in order to enjoy life, and by changing its approach, attain this together.

A priority in achieving this is for South Australian government, organizations and institutions, including business, unions and universities to work together in setting an agenda in non-Aboriginal South Australia that addresses the changes that are needed to endow Aboriginal people and communities with capacity to move forward with positive prospects and a real future.

The formation of such a State agenda could be framed around these seven ‘R’s”:

  • Recognition
  • Respect
  • Rights
  • Reform
  • Reciprocity
  • Responsibility
  • Reparations
  1. Recognition of: “the hopes, aspirations and spirit of Indigenous peoples to live in this country/our country in a more equitable society”.
  2. Respect for the two common community concepts/strategies for change in outcomes for Indigenous peoples – Reconciliation and Human Rights – which need to work in an aligned not an antagonistic way.
  3. Rights as a legal requirement, both locally and internationally, when striving for Human Rights and social justice
  4. Reform Reconciliation strategies like flag raising, putting up signs and memorial plaques, educating non-Aboriginal communities about Indigenous people and their issues, so that they overtly include stated Human Rights goals
  5. Reciprocity partnerships with local Aboriginal people to work and advocate for the pressing issues, such as:
    • education,
    • housing,
    • enterprise/employment
    • health.
  6. Responsibility within the State and its institutions to advance, reform, restructure, include, and legislate for empowerment of Indigenous people within a human rights framework
  7. Reparations for all Indigenous South Australians including all removed children.


Patrick Byrt
Roma Mitchell Community Legal Centre Inc.
110 The Parade Norwood SA 5067
Ph: 08 8362 1199
Fax: 08 8362 0410
Sue Gilbey
Australian Peace Committee (SA Branch) Inc
11 South Terrace Adelaide SA 5000
Ph/Fax: 08 8177 0490


Glenn Giles
5 Hutt Street Adelaide SA 5000
Ph: 08 8227 0170
Fax: 08 8223 3039
United Nations Association of Australia
  National Campaign Against Landmines
Mark Wildy
Global Education Centre
Kris Barnett
Community Development Manager
Diversity Directions Inc
3 Ninth Street Bowden SA 5007
Ph: 08 8346 1762
Fax: 08 8346 6941
kris.barnett@divdir.asn.au or abar9031@bigpond.net.au
Sarah Hanson-Young
Amnesty International SA/NT
Torrens Building
220 Victoria Square Adelaide SA 5000
Ph: 08 8221 5979
Angela Hazebroek
Co-convenor of the SA Earth Charter Committee
C/- Planning Partnerships
3/207 The Parade Norwood SA 5067

While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future. The Hawke Centre reserves the right to change their program at any time without notice.