Senator Thorpe’s Private Members Bill, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was first introduced to the Parliament in March 2022. After 21 months, 2 Inquiries and an election, the Government today joined voices with the Opposition to vote down enshrining UNDRIP in law.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples outlines the minimum standard of First Peoples rights and centres around the right to Self-determination, Free, Prior and Informed Consent and the right to maintain and practice culture. Its goal is to defend the survival, dignity and well‐being of Indigenous peoples.
The Bill would require the Federal Government to take measures to ensure consistency between Commonwealth law and the Declaration and prepare and implement an action plan to achieve the objectives of the Declaration and the Prime Minister to, each financial year, present a report to each House of the Parliament on the progress of those actions.
Quotes attributable to Senator Lidia Thorpe, Gunnai Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung woman and Independent Victorian Senator representing the Blak Sovereign Movement:
“The Albanese government claimed they cared about First Peoples rights and justice when they went ahead with the Voice referendum. Yet after the failed referendum, they can’t even bring themselves to support the minimum standards of our rights being adhered to in this country.”
“Implementing UNDRIP in this country is the obvious next step to pursuing First Peoples justice in this country. Yet a powerless advisory body is as much as the government is prepared to give us.”
“Today our people have yet again been let down by a colonial government, even when we’re putting the solutions right in front of them. Once again our value as people and as First Peoples of these lands is being diminished.”
“By opposing my Bill this morning, the government has shown that it doesn’t care about First Peoples. The same was demonstrated through them voting against First Nations consultation in the National Repair Market Bill last night.”
“The government reluctantly signed onto the UNDRIP in 2009, yet 14 years later it still cannot bring itself to comply with its international obligations.”
Quotes attributable to Professor Chelsea Watego, Munanjahli and Yugambeh woman and Executive Director of the Carumba Institute at Queensland University of Technology:
“When we speak of Indigenous rights, we are speaking about Indigenous lives. It is a call for a rethink of Indigenous affairs, away from the needs-based approach which operates as a self-fulfilling prophecy, keeping us trapped on the mouse wheel of misery – it is what keeps our kids in out of home care, kicks our kids out of schools, places our people in prisons, and leaves us grieving at gravesites for lives lost well before their time.”
“Enshrining UNDRIP into Australian law would’ve been a way of getting us off this miserable road to nowhere and realise real progress for our people.”
“The continued denial of our rights by those who have the most to gain reflects a steadfast commitment to the continuing violence of settler colonialism and absolute indifference to Indigenous lives and lands.”
Quotes attributable to Benjamin Abbatangello, Gunaikurnai and Wotjobaluk man and journalist and writer:
"If the Albanese government had a modicum of decency, then it would have enthusiastically supported Senator Thorpe's bill - which is not only a bare minimum and uncontroversial piece of legislation that other comparable nations have already enshrined; but a logical next step in the wake of a failed referendum."
"Over the last eighteen months, Labor ministers have written countless columns and used innumerable domestic and international press conferences, question times, senate estimates, television and radio interviews, sports and cultural events to prosecute the urgent need to address Indigenous marginalisation. Senator Thorpe's bill provides the government with an actionable and familiar framework that would not only radically improve our lives, but address the very marginalisation that they said can no longer be ignored."
"After spending almost two decades delaying the implementation of UNDRIP, which has culminated in the rejection of this bill, the government should be removed as a signatory."