Review of the Australian and Torres Strait Islander Commission in Australia

Essay by onesikgypoHigh School, 11th gradeA+, August 2006

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Two years after the NAC the government recognized that a major advancement in the administration of indigenous affairs were needed, and hence proposed for body that would have both representative and executive rolls.

In December 1987 the Hawke Governments made its intentions formally known in the 'Foundations for the Future' speech by Minister Of Aboriginal Affairs, Gerry Hand.

However not all government representatives welcomed this idea, with a John Howard led opposition opposed to the concept of the ATSIC, and its idea to give aboriginal and torres strait islanders a separate status. John Howard made a speech on his opposition of the ATSIC in 1989 which said:

I take the opportunity of saying again that if the Government wants to divide Australian against Australian, if it wants to create a black nation within the Australian nation, it should go ahead with its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) legislation ...

In the process it will be doing a monumental disservice to the Australian community ... If there is one thing, above everything else, that we in this Parliament should regard as our sacred and absolute duty, it is the preservation of the unity of the Australian people. The ATSIC legislation strikes at the heart of the unity of the Australian people. In the name of righting the wrongs done against Aboriginal people, the legislation adopts the misguided notion of believing that if one creates a parliament within the Australian community for Aboriginal people, one will solve and meet all of those problems.(35)

Eventually ATSIC did get abolished, in May, 2004 via the the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Amendment Bill. The intention to abolish the ATSIC was made in parliament on the 15th of April 2004 by Prime Minister John Howard, and the Minister for...