ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: ACTCOSS asks ‘Whose Rights?’

13 February 2012

On the fourth anniversary of the Federal Parliament’s apology to the stolen generations the ACT Council of Social Service is launching a report advocating actions in a number of areas to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ACT can enjoy the same rights as the general community.

“Human rights allow people to vote, have a say in public affairs, move freely, receive healthcare as needed, go to school and go to work. Unfortunately, for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ACT, various human rights are not being realised,” commented Roslyn Dundas, Director of ACTCOSS.

“While data reveals Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT perform better than other jurisdictions in many indicators, they continue to experience significant social and economic disadvantage when compared to non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

In 2008 the Federal Parliament through the apology led by Kevin Rudd acknowledged ‘the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.’ However there is still a long way to go to ‘close the gap’ and ensure we have a ‘a future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country,’ as called for in the apology.

“This report ‘Whose Rights?’ calls on governments to address racism, improve access to justice and housing and increase opportunities for education and meaningful employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in the ACT,” continued Ms Dundas.

“It is clear that while human rights legislation can assist to address disadvantages faced by vulnerable people, further efforts are required to make the ACT a fairer and more inclusive society,” Ms Dundas concluded.

Whose Rights? – Strengthening Human Rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the ACT can be found online at

For more information or comment please contact
Roslyn Dundas, Director - 6202 7200.