During last week’s meeting of the Australian Children’s Commissioners and Guardians, which Guardian Shona Reid is a member of, the group wholeheartedly provided their support for the full implementation of the Uluru Statement.
Our primary focus is to be staunch advocates for the promotion and protection of the rights of children and young people across this country. We know First Nations children and young people continue to experience disproportionately poorer outcomes to those of other children and young people, and so, by supporting the Uluru Statement, we hope to create positive change with tangible outcomes for generations to come and to future proof the voices of First Nations peoples and their children.
Here is Australia’s children commissioners and guardians’ jointly endorsed open letter of support for the full implementation of the Uluru Statement.
As National, State and Territory Commissioners, Guardians and Advocates we dedicate our critical oversight functions to upholding the rights and best interests of children and young people. In doing so, we have a particular focus on First Nations children and young people who often experience disproportionately poorer outcomes to those of other children and young people across Australia.
The foundational ideology behind our work is articulated in the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child. We use this rights-based convention to ground our own work, as well as to guide how we measure and hold our respective governments accountable for the decisions they make and the outcomes they produce.
In 2018, Australia made a number of pledges to secure its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), among those being to fully adopt the Uluru Statement and bolster its commitments to local and international Indigenous rights, most clearly articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Having secured its seat at the UNHRC, Australia must now honour its commitment to our citizens, our First Nations people, and our international friends.
The premise behind the Uluru Statement has always been about creating structural and ongoing meaningful change that will secure an enduring benefit for future generations of First Nations people and indeed all people across Australia.
Australia has had a complicated and complex history in respect of its commitment to and upholding of human rights, children’s rights and indeed First Nations rights. This is not the fault of children and young people, and it is not the fault of First Nations people, however it is often those who are most vulnerable that bear the consequences of shifting commitments, poor policies, and ill-equipped resources.
The establishment of Australian Children’s Commissioners, Guardians and Advocates across the country has provided an opportunity for shining light on areas where Australia can do better in looking after our children and young people across all walks of life.
The Uluru Statement is an invitation to the Australian people and to policymakers to do better. To hear the voices of the most vulnerable and to make decisions that lead to genuine and meaningful change.
As Australian Children’s Commissioners, Guardians and Advocates, we unequivocally provide our support to the full implementation of the Uluru Statement. This reaffirms our enduring commitment to the promotion and protection of the rights of all children and young people in Australia.
What better way to future proof the voices of our First Nations Children and Young People to participate in the creation of a truly fair and just society for all Australians.