Rod Little is a current Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and a former chairperson of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body. He is of the Yamatji and Nyoongar nations from Geraldton and Perth in Western Australia.
Rod leads a broad alliance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and supporter organisations who are signatories of the Redfern Statement. This statement aims to reset the relationship with the Federal Government and Parliament to ensure effective engagement for policy and service delivery improvements for First Australians.
For more information about the Redfern Statement see:
In his lecture, Rod talked about the importance of the Redfern Statement, recalling that this was a strategic move by the coalition of members in the middle of the 2016 federal election campaign.They wanted a futuristic statement to set a framework that will last beyond this government. It included a call to meet in the first 100 days of the new government. At the time of the lecture, they had met with Minister Scullion but not yet the Prime Minister. They were seeking a national summit to grow the commitments and work together to see them through, followed by a series of workshops for each of the key areas of the Redfern Statement.
There are seven primary matters:
- National Representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
- First Peoples Health Priorities
Access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Preventing violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children
- Progressing early childhood outcomes through access to quality early childhood education and care
- Ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child safety, wellbeing and cultural identity
Addressing disability for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Rod also talked about other related matters, including employment, education and housing.
The parties to the Redfern Statement are seeking a legacy, where policy is not controlled by government but controlled by the people.
Rod called for more analysis needed on the social justice reports – they identify a range of issues and actions needed, but what happened in response.
Rod also raised concerns about the media and negative view of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often portrayed, starting from deficits not strengths. He called for the media to let people tell their stories and to speak out against the wrongs.