Danny Gilbert AM: Support the Advisory Body
This is an edited summary of a speech made by Danny Gilbert AM on 23 October 2017 at an event organised by the Sydney Institute.
Australia's political system continues to fail Indigenous people. They need a better say in the decisions made about them. The proposed advisory body is a change that can be of great historic significance – both practical and symbolic. It creates an extraordinary opportunity for our nation.
The proposal fully respects parliamentary supremacy and legal certainty: the advisory body will have no veto power over the elected Parliament, and it cannot act as a house or chamber. It will be set up by the Parliament on terms set by the Parliament.
It is not a big ask. It will simply give Indigenous Australians a voice and a place at the table. We have nothing to fear here.
While today's Australians may not be personally responsible for 200 years of exclusion, suffering and neglect, we are most certainly responsible for what we do now. My challenge to Mr Turnbull and to Mr Shorten is to get behind this proposal with courageous determination and show us the way. Let's not engage in legal nit-picking, in national hand-wringing. Let's make it work.
Of course, gains have been made by Indigenous people in the last 40 years and many Indigenous people live very successful lives by any standard. Nonetheless, the system is not working as it should. I support the proposed advisory body.