In the 2017 Wentworth Lecture, entitled The promise of 1967: Commonwealth Public Administration of Indigenous Affairs 50 years on, Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM reflects on what the 1967 Referendum has meant for the evolution of Indigenous Affairs policy in Australia.
The ‘yes’ vote gave the Commonwealth constitutional power to act positively and decisively in First Australians’ interests, and for the first time, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples were given statistical visibility through inclusion in the Census.
Dr Parkinson critically reflects on whether the promise of these changes has been met, and what lessons the Public Service should take from the past to map out a new way of working in the future.
Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM is the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C). Indigenous Affairs is a national priority for the Government and PM&C and its Indigenous Affairs Group are committed to improving the lives of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Established in 1978, the Wentworth Lectures are held in honour of the Honourable W C Wentworth AO, paying tribute to his contribution to Indigenous studies in Australia, and as a means to encourage all Australians to gain a better understanding of issues that go to the heart of our development as a nation.
Mr Wentworth argued for a comprehensive effort by the Australian Government to record the culture of Australian Indigenous peoples in 1959. As a result of Mr Wentworth's political skills, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies was established by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Act in 1964, with an interim Council set up in 1961.
View past Wentworth Lectures.