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Listening but not hearing

A response to the NTER Stronger Futures Consultations June to August 2011 

Introduction by the Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC 

Prepared by Alastair Nicholson, Nicole Watson, Alison Vivian, Craig Longman,

Terry Priest, Jason De Santolo, Paddy Gibson, Larissa Behrendt and Eva Cox 

Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning Research Unit, University of Technology Sydney 

March 2012 


A. The Stronger Futures consultation process was conducted on a large scale in over 100 Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory between June and August 2011, culminating in the Stronger Futures Bills currently before the Australian Parliament. 

B. This report evaluates whether the Stronger Futures consultation process complies with Australia’s obligations under international law to consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in relation to decisions that affect them. 

C. The report reviews the consultation process in the pre-consultation, consultation and post-consultation stages, including analysis of transcripts of a representative sample of consultation meetings. 

D. Further, the report reviews the consultation process against the applicable criteria for classification of governmental initiatives as ‘special measures’ and concludes that the criteria are not met. 

E. The report does not deal with the substantive provisions of the proposed legislation but primarily addresses the consultation process itself.  


Acknowledgements and Thanks to: 

Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, Research Unit, University of Technology Sydney (‘Jumbunna’); 

The Hon Malcolm Fraser, former Prime Minister of Australia, for launching this report; 

Concerned Australians who initiated this project; 

The writers and the transcribers who have given generously of their time; and 

Most of all we wish to thank those members of Northern Territory communities who gave their support to the writing of this report.