Empowering Women to Advocate for Effective Policy
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance (NATSIWA) was established in 2009 to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women to have a strong and effective voice in the domestic and international policy advocacy process.
“To protect the health, human rights and fundamental freedoms that are significant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women through cultural preservation, health education and coalition building.”
NATSIWA’s Vision will be achieved through our Guiding Principles that will remain cognizant of the needs, heath, wellbeing and development, and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women.
• Aboriginal strengths;
• The need for cultural understanding;
• The impact of racism and stigma;
• Recognition of the centrality of kinship;
• The impact of history in trauma and loss;
• Recognition of different needs of communities;
• The recognition of human rights and social justice;
• Universal access to basic health care, housing and education; and
• Equitable needs based funding.
Adopted from the National Aboriginal Health Strategy of 1989.
NATSIWA Election Priorities 2016
In this election, NATSIWA’s priorities are leadership, safety, (especially domestic and family violence), justice, race issues and gender equality. NATSIWA draws its priorities from a broad and nationally dispersed membership base.
Governments have made steps to rectify past policy that have been detrimental to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The referendum to vote and the National Apology being the most significant, however governments must take the next step and support discussions and actions regarding a Treaty.
The nature, history and context of family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is different to domestic violence experienced in mainstream communities and populations. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to suffer the intergenerational effects of past welfare practices including the forced removal of their children and dislocation from their communities, country and culture, as well as experiencing higher levels of poverty and social disadvantage compared to other Australians. The combined effects of past practices and current disadvantages present extreme challenges to families.
Indigenous family violence contributes to high levels of notification and investigation of maltreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and their subsequent removal to out-of-home care.
In addition, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women make up around 2.2 per cent of the Australian female population, but around 34 per cent of all female prisoners. The rate of imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women has increased by 73.7 per cent since 2000 and represents the fastest growing cohort of those imprisoned in Australia. NATSIWA wants to ensure that justice targets are agreed to at the COAG meeting and how your party would support the implementation of Justice Reinvestment.
Without resolution of these problems we will be dealing with these same issues twenty years from now. Approaches need to address structural racism, be collaborative, informed by data and research, and must be developed and delivered in a cultural context.
Ask your local candidates:
- What support will you give to treaty discussions and actions that encourage First Nations and other Australians to participate in initiating treaty discussions?
- What action they intend to take to address the underlying causes of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children.
- Whether they will commit to increasing investment in programs developed in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that provide ‘wrap-around’ support to parents and children, especially in the first five years of life, so that the trajectory into child protection for these vulnerable families is interrupted and reversed.
- What will you do to ensure that COAG takes urgent action to obtain bi-partisan support to ensure the government forges a nationally coordinated approach that includes justice reinvestment and setting clear targets to close the rates of incarceration and violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people especially women, to ensure that another generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is not lost to the criminal justice system.
- Would you support a call for a Senate Select Committee to establish an inquiry into structural and institutional racism?
NATSIWA promotes women’s interests at every platform afforded to us and we continue to advocate and lobby for women’s rights and especially for the rights of their children.
WOMEN’S TALKING CIRCLE: NATIVE TITLE CONFERENCE JUNE 2016
PLEDGES OF ACTION
On the first day of the conference the Women’s Talking Circle was facilitated by the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance who has partnered with the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies in supporting Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women to make pledges that further empower them to contribute culturally and politically.
The women made three pledges regarding:
- Grandma’s Lore and proper telling of history with inclusion of women’s perspectives.
- Initiating Treaty discussion that is women led.
- Aboriginal women’s history has not been recorded as factual evidence to be used in Australian court process in direct relation to native title outcomes.
NATSIWA commit to providing updates regularly against the progress of the pledges.