National Congress of Australia's First Peoples
|Public company limited by guarantee|
|Dr Jackie Huggins (Co-chair)|
|Website||The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples|
The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples is the peak representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Established in 2010, National Congress has grown to comprise over 180 organisations and over 9,000 individual members.
National Congress advocates self-determination and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. National Congress believes that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must be central in decisions about their lives and communities, and in all areas including lands, health, education, law, governance and economic empowerment. It promotes respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and recognition as the core of the national heritage.
In pursuit of self-determination and rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, National Congress’ main foci to date have been health, education, land and sea rights, justice and sovereignty. In addition, National Congress has been involved in a range of other issues, including cultural maintenance and development; government relations, including treaty discussions; employment and economic empowerment; housing; family violence; children and youth; disabilities; and governance and leadership.
Since being established, National Congress has sought to ensure that the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are heard both domestically and internationally. It has been represented at the meetings of several international bodies, including the UN Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the UN Human Rights Council and the Commonwealth Peoples Forum. Domestically, it led the creation of the Redfern Statement, which calls upon the Australian Government to work alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in order to meaningful, lasting and effective policy solutions. We have also been involved in Closing the Gap Roundtable Consultations, the Closing the Gap Campaign and in providing advice and critique to governments regarding key policy decisions relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs.
National Congress has an equal gender representation policy. In line with this policy, the National Board is composed of four male and four female Board Members, with one female and one male Co-Chair, elected by its membership. National Congress's Co-Chairs are Dr Jackie Huggins and Rod Little. Other Chamber Directors Board members, are Venessa Curnow, Katie Kiss, Mark McMillan, Gerry Moore and Daphne Yarram. Co-Chairs are elected for a term of two years. Chamber Directors are elected for four year terms, three at each election every two years.
The Congress is a Public Company limited by guarantee. The first National Congress meeting of 120 delegates was held in June 2011, with subsequent meetings in September 2012, July 2013 and October 2015. The 120 delegates nominate every 2 years to attend the annual forum. Chambers 1 & 2 hold elections for their 40 delegates. Organisations that are members of those chambers have the right to vote for these delegates. Individual Congress Members that nominate to be in Chamber 3 are assessed against criteria by both the Ethics Council and the National Board. Gender parity and adequate representation of the membership are included as part of the process to pick the 40 members for this chamber. The Board is supported by an Ethics Council – a special body of experts who provide independent advice on standards and guidelines
Australian Human Rights Commissioner Mick Gooda welcomed the formation as a milestone moment for Indigenous Australians. Northern Land Council CEO Kim Hill also welcomed the formation of the Congress. Aboriginal activist Noel Pearson criticised the Congress as "a blackfella's wailing wall". Australian conservative journalist and political commentator Andrew Bolt has described the Congress as funding "professional aborigines" instead of Aboriginal people "you imagine your taxes helping".
- Jopson, Debra (3 May 2010). "New indigenous 'company' structured to keep politicians at arm's length". The Age. The Age. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- "ASIC Free Company Name Search: NATIONAL CONGRESS OF AUSTRALIA'S FIRST PEOPLES LIMITED". Australian Securities and Investments Commission. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- Gooda, Mick (2 May 2010). "2010 Media Release: First National Executive is a milestone moment for Indigenous Australians". Australian Human Rights Commission. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- "National Congress of Australia's First Peoples" (PDF). Northern Land Council. 4 May 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
- Andrew Bolt (3 May 2010). "How representative are they of the Aborigines who need our help?". Herald Sun. News Limited. Retrieved 31 May 2010.