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Inquiry into language learning in Indigenous communities

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs is holding an inquiry into the role of Indigenous languages in Closing the Gap and improving outcomes for Indigenous communities. The inquiry will examine the benefits of giving recognition to Indigenous languages, and how Indigenous languages can used in education to improve competency in English. In addition, the inquiry will examine current maintenance and revitalisation programs for Indigenous languages.

Submissions addressing the terms of reference are due by Friday, 19 August 2011. Visit the web site for further details about the inquiry and the submission process.

The Committee is also seeking responses to a questionnaire. The questionnaire aims to find out about specific language projects in communities across Australia and is intended to be used as a guide for people to make a submission to the inquiry.

You can download a media release and the Terms of Reference.

Jane Simpson (ANU) has created a proforma of useful topics which can be adapted in a submission to the Inquiry. You can download the proforma here as txt or PDF. Please draw on these points if they are helpful, but do include the details of your own situation, or concerns that you are familiar with. That’s more useful to the Committee.

NOTE: The Secretariat is open to giving extensions for submissions. If people are concerned or need more information you can contact the Secretariat by telephone on (02) 6277 4559 or by email


National Cultural Policy discussion paper

The Australian Government. has just released a draft National Cultural Policy and you are invited to comment. You can download a PDF of the draft discussion paper here. The discussion paper aims to examine how the Australian Government should support arts and culture in the 21st century, and to consider significant changes to the way we work, enjoy and participate in Australia’s arts and cultural life. The policy will set a 10-year strategic vision.

The discussion paper makes important references to Indigenous issues - languages, culture, broadcasting, film, visual arts, etc. and links to related policies, including the National Languages Policy. Goal 1 of the paper is to ensure that what the Government supports — and how this support is provided — reflects the diversity of a 21st century Australia, and protects and supports Indigenous culture.

You have until October 21 to respond. You can make written submissions or take a short online survey. See this link for details.


Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory

Public Forum "Indigenous languages in education: Do current policies match our needs?" Speakers Dr Brian Devlin, Charles Darwin University and Professor Joseph Lo Bianco, The University of Melbourne. 7:30pm, Thursday, 9 September 2010 Mal Nairn Auditorium, Charles Darwin University, Casuarina Campus, Darwin, NT. Download a PDF flyer with details. Several documents which have been released after the symposium, including the two presentations, can be downloaded below:

Brian Devlin Evidence, policy and the ‘Step’ model of bilingual education in the NT: A brief outline [Version 2] 14 September 2010

Joseph Lo Bianco Indigenous languages in education Do current policies match our needs? 9 September 2010

Terry Mills Shameless use of dodgy data 13 September 2010


AuSIL (formerly SIL) Advocates for Indigenous Languages in Education in the Northern Territory, Australia

Senator Trish Crossin (Senator, Northern Territory, Australia) Matters Of Public Interest: Bilingual Education - Speech 28 October 2009

Supporters of Bilingual Education in the Northern Territory, Australia Facebook group


Indigenous education issues

Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, Australia: concern has been expressed about the lack of consultation over proposed changes to BIITE. A Facebook group is asking people to act urgently and write to Hon Julia Gillard Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. A draft letter has been placed on the site. You can also download a copy of the letter sent from RNLD's Board and Directors.

An online petition has been set up in coordination with a range of other activities to support the First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) in Regina, which is threatened with closure. On June 2, the Canadian Government announced that it would continue to fund the FNUC until 31 March 2011.

Australia's Indigenous Education Action Plan 2010-2014 Consultation. The Ministers for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs are calling for submissions on a draft national Indigenous education action plan that is designed to improve educational outcomes for Indigenous students. The public consultation process on the draft Indigenous Education Action Plan closes on 28 February 2010. The draft plan can be downloaded from the site.



Campaign to urge President Obama to endorse the the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Indian Law Resource Center Draft Letter for Non-governmental Organizations

National Alliance to Save Native Languages, USA

Support Siraya, a low-land, Austronesian language of Taiwan lobbying for official status


Australia's national anthem

8 July 2010, State of Origin match, National Anthem sung by a member of the Eora Nation (Sydney region) and in English.

In 2009, singer Judith Durham created new words to the Australian National Anthem which acknowledge and honour Aboriginal people

  • Judith Durham pens new Australian anthem lyrics 7.30 Report ABC TV 21/05/2009