When the minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, recently announced a co-design process for creating an Indigenous “voice to government”, it was characterised as a shift in rhetoric.
Yet, on closer inspection, it was less a shift than a consolidation of the Liberal Party’s rhetoric on Indigenous affairs over the past two years.
In fact, Morrison was talking about a co-design model to improve local and regional Indigenous decision-making and options for constitutional recognition in the lead-up to the federal election this year. His government has also emphasised collaborating with Indigenous people to improve Closing the Gap targets.
Given the 15-year absence of such collaboration since the disbanding of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), Morrison’s talk of “empowering partnerships” has been welcomed in some quarters. He has also used the language of accountability.
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