Policy & Advocacy

Submission to the Indigenous Expenditure Review Consultation Paper

NATSILS wishes to thank the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision for the opportunity to provide input into this review. At the outset it is important to note that NATSILS, and the ATSILS it represents, do not have significant experience with IER data and this constrains the extent of information NATSILS is able to provide in response … Read More

Submission to the UN Human Rights Council on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Australia (Jun 2010)

This is a joint submission from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services of Australia (ATSILS).

Australian Government’s Draft Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Report (Aug 2010)

The Following is a submission in response to the Australian Government’s draft National Report to the United Nation’s (UN) Universal Periodic Review (UPR) from the following ATSILS:

Development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dispute Management Service (Nov 2010)

The following is a joint ATSILS proposal for the establishment of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dispute Management Service (the proposed service) within Australia, to operate within urban, regional and remote areas. The ATSILS prepared this proposal in response to the need for increased provision of culturally appropriate alternative dispute management services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander … Read More

Expansion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Interpreter Services (Mar 2011)

This is a joint ATSILS submission in support of the increased provision of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interpreter services to cover metropolitan, regional and remote areas within Australia. The ATSILS prepared this submission to address the need for increased provision of interpreter services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to ensure that members of these communities can have … Read More

Shadow Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (Jul 2011)

The NATSILS make this submission to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) to highlight serious concerns about the worsening situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in contact with the justice system in Australia.

National Human Rights Action Plan Draft Baseline Study (Aug 2011)

The NATSILS welcome the development of the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) and congratulate the Government on taking steps to map the human rights situation in Australia, implement action to address identified concerns, and track progress. Once completed, the NHRAP should accurately and comprehensively detail existing human rights concerns in Australia and set out ways to address them that … Read More

Australia’s Fifth Report under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Nov 2011)

The NATSILS make this submission to the Australian Government to assist in the development of its Fifth Periodic Report (the Report) to the Committee Against Torture (the Committee). Our submission is intended to provide the Government with information gathered from the on-theground experiences of the various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) so that it can accurately report … Read More

The Consolidation of Commonwealth Anti-Discrimination Laws (Feb 2012)

This submission is in response to the Discussion Paper released by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department in September 2011 regarding the consolidation of Australia’s Federal anti-discrimination laws into a single, consolidated Act. The NATSILS welcome the consolidation of the Commonwealth anti-discrimination laws as an opportunity to harmonise and strengthen current protections against discrimination. The NATSILS congratulate the Labor Government on its … Read More

Stronger Futures Bill and Proposed Changes to the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) Regarding Customary Law (Feb 2012)

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) is the peak national body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice issues in Australia. The NATSILS have almost 40 years’ experience in the provision of legal advice, assistance, representation, community legal education, advocacy, law reform activities and prisoner through-care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in contact with … Read More

NATSILS Submission on the National Human Rights Action Plan Exposure Draft

This submission is in response to the National Human Rights Action Plan Exposure Draft (Action Plan) released in December 2011. The NATSILS welcome the Australian Government’s commitment to developing a road map towards better protection of human rights in Australia and value the opportunity to provide specialist advice in this aim.

The Establishment of a National Children’s Commissioner (Jun 2012)

In my capacity as Chairperson, I write on behalf of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) which is comprised of the following Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services (ATSILS):

NATSILS Position Statement on Income Management (Oct 2012)

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) do not support the continuation or extension of income management (IM) in its current forms. Compulsory IM is punitive and ill-conceived in regards to achieving its stated aims. NATSILS support mechanisms that aid people in self-determining how they spend their income.

Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 (Dec 2012)

The NATSILS make this submission to the Australian Government in response to the exposure draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 (the Bill). Previously in February 2012 the NATSILS made a detailed submission on the Consolidation of Commonwealth Anti-Discrimination Laws Discussion Paper (the Discussion Paper) and we are pleased to see that many of our recommendations have been … Read More

Submission to the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Access to Justice for Indigenous Peoples (Feb 2013)

In September 2012 the Human Rights Council requested the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Expert Mechanism) to undertake a study into access to justice in the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples. The NATSILS would like to make this submission in response to the Expert Mechanism’s subsequent call for submissions from indigenous individuals and … Read More

Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Inquiry into Justice Reinvestment in Australia (Mar 2013)

The NATSILS make this submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee to highlight the value that justice reinvestment approaches could have in addressing the steadily rising imprisonment rate across Australia, and in particular the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in custody. Imprisonment is expensive and at the rate that imprisonment is rising in Australia, the … Read More

Barriers to Access to Justice in the Criminal Justice System for People with Disability (Aug 2013)

NATSILS welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Australian Human Rights Commission Issues Paper: Access to justice in the criminal justice system for people with disability. We would like to endorse the submissions of our member organisations, the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) and the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS). We recommend that this submission be read … Read More

Productivity Commission Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements (Nov 2013)

NATSILS welcomes the opportunity to provide this submission to the Productivity Commission in relation to their inquiry into access to justice arrangements in the civil law system. This submission will focus on highlighting overall national trends in relation to access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and will be complimented by a range of submissions from individual … Read More

Factsheet – funding cuts to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (Dec 2013)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) are culturally competent legal assistance services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that have been in existence for over 40 years. ATSILS’ core services are providing frontline culturally competent legal assistance services in criminal, family and civil law. In addition to this, ATSILS also undertake community legal education, advocacy and law … Read More

Submission to the Inquiry into the Harmful Use of Alcohol in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities (April 2014)

Alcohol abuse and alcohol-related harm is a nationwide problem in Australia, and not just in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Alcohol abuse is both a cause and consequence of major public health issues and it is clear that better strategies need to be adopted to address the underlying causes of alcohol-related harm

Productivity Commission: Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements – Draft Report (May 2014)

NATSILS make this submission to the Productivity Commission in response to its Draft Report from the Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements. We thank the Commission for the opportunity to provide feedback on the contents of the Draft Report and its many Draft Recommendations. While the Commission is to be commended for the breadth of its analysis, we have focused … Read More

Submission in response to the Freedom of Speech (Repeal ofs 18C) Bill 2014 Exposure Draft (April 2014)

The NATSILS make this submission to the Australian Government to express our opposition to the proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (RDA) as outlined in the recently released Freedom of Speech (Repeal of s 18C) Bill 2014 Exposure Draft. Given that racial discrimination and vilification is a matter of critical importance to the Australian public, we are … Read More

Productivity Commission: Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements – Draft Report (May 2014)

NATSILS make this submission to the Productivity Commission in response to its Draft Report from the Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements. We thank the Commission for the opportunity to provide feedback on the contents of the Draft Report and its many Draft Recommendations. While the Commission is to be commended for the breadth of its analysis, we have focused … Read More

Submission to Senate Inquiry into the Prevalence and Impact of Domestic Violence in Australia (Aug 2014)

The NATSILS welcome the focus that this inquiry by the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee will hopefully bring to the issue of family violence in Australia. We also welcome the opportunity to make a submission to the inquiry and put forth our experience and knowledge as to the prevalence and impact of domestic violence and the adequacy and … Read More

Submission to the Royal Commission Inquiry into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse Consultation Paper: Redress and Civil Litigation

This is a submission from the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) in Australia, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS). ATSILS were established in every State and Territory over 40 years ago to provide culturally competent legal assistance services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. ATSILS are Aboriginal and Torres … Read More

Submission for Australia’s Universal Periodic Review

Previously NATSILS endorsed recommendations in regards to Australia adopting a more comprehensive framework for the promotion and protection of human rights. However, it would appear from the Progress Report provided by the ACHRA that the development and adoption of a more comprehensive framework has a significant way to go.

Submission for Commonwealth Indigenous Advancement tendering processes

ATSILS submission to this Senate Inquiry has arisen from seriously held concerns about the process and implementation of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (hereafter IAS). A number of NATSILS member organisations did not receive funding, and had serious issues with the process for which they tendered for funding

Submission to Senate Inquiry on Access to Legal Assistance Services

.NASTILS’ submission to this Senate Inquiry has arisen from seriously held concerns about the lack of legal access in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This issue has been highlighted in a number of government reports and persists as a critical issue that demands to be addressed.

Submission to the Parliamentary Committee Inquiry on the use of Ice

NATSILS submission to this inquiry has arisen from seriously held concerns about the prevalence of crystal methamphetamine (ice) use in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the response to this issue by the state and territories Governments and the Commonwealth.

Submission to the National Children’s Commissioner Examination of Children affected by Family and Domestic Violence

NATSILS submission to the National Children’s Commissioner examination of the effects on children of family and domestic violence has arisen from seriously held concerns about this issue for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, which NATSILS member organisations encounter on a routine basis. Our submission will respond to each of the terms of reference provided in turn.

Submission for Pre-Budget Consultation 2016/17

Currently the ATSILS face funding cuts of approximately $4million p.a. which will come into effect in 2017. These cuts will have a major impact on highly vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and undermine the current Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap. Furthermore, funding cuts to the ATSILS will be a false saving for the government due to significant … Read More

Submission to the Senate Inquiry into theindefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment in Australia, 2016

NATSILS wishes to thank the Senate for the opportunity to provide input into this inquiry. As a result of NATSILS area of expertise, this submission only discusses the terms of reference in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NATSILS acknowledges that the topic of this inquiry affects many communities in Australia, particularly those who are socioeconomically marginalised, however, … Read More

​Submission to the Inquiry on Domestic Violence and Gender Inequality, 2016

.NATSILS welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to this inquiry and put forth our experience and knowledge in relation to the role of gender inequality and stereotypes as a contributing factor for family violence and how governments can support and contribute to the social, cultural and behavioural shifts required to eliminate violence against women and their children. We would … Read More

The Redfern Statement2016

In the past 25 years – a generation in fact – we have had the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the Bringing them home Report and Reconciliation: Australia’s Challenge: the final report of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. These reports, and numerous other Coroner and Social Justice Reports, have made over 400 recommendations, most of which have either … Read More

ATSILS Custody Notification Services

This table outlining the Custody Notification Services operated by the different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) was developed by the Law Reform and Policy Legal Officers of each participating ATSILS. All ATSILS were invited to participate and the majority provided the relevant information.

ATSILS Custody Notification Services

This table outlining the Custody Notification Services operated by the different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) was developed by the Law Reform and Policy Legal Officers of each participating ATSILS. All ATSILS were invited to participate and the majority provided the relevant information.

Submission to Inquiry into Youth Justice Centres in Victoria

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (NATSILS) welcomes the opportunity to provide a brief submission to the Standing Committee on Legal and Social Issues’ Inquiry into Youth Justice Centres in Victoria (‘the Inquiry’).

Submission to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory’s Child Protection Issues Paper

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcomes the opportunity to provide a brief submission to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory’s Child Protection Issues Paper (‘the Issues Paper’)

Joint NATSILS & NFVPLS Communique – Preventing Violence and Justice Workshop

As part of the Redfern Statement process, the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum (NFVPLS) and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) convened a workshop on 27 June 2017 to develop calls for action in relation to both the Preventing Violence and Justice sections of the Redfern Statement. This communique highlights the key points of … Read More

Submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission consultation on the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment in Australia (OPCAT)

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) supports the Australian government’s commitment to protect the rights of people in custody by ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment in Australia (OPCAT) by December 2017.

Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s Inquiry into the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers, Offences and Other Measures) Bill 2017

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcomes the opportunity to provide a brief submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s Inquiry into the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers, Offences and Other Measures) Bill 2017

Joint NATSILS and Amnesty International – Written Statement on the Crisis of Indigenous Youth Detained in Australia

Indigenous children in Australia make up less than six per cent of young people aged 10 to 17 years, but make up 54 per cent of children detained,1 and are 25 times more likely to be in youth prison than non-Indigenous children.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples on her visit to Australia

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples visited Australia from 20 March to 3 April 2017. She expresses her appreciation to the Government of Australia for the support provided throughout the visit.

Submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Inquiry into the Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) is the peak national body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) in Australia. NATSILS brings together over 40 years’ experience in the provision of legal advice, assistance, representation, community legal education, advocacy, law reform activities and prisoner throughcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in contact … Read More

Strong Families, Safe Kids: Family violence response and prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, women and men have the right to live their lives in safety, with full human dignity and free from all forms of violence, including family violence. While most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have strong and healthy relationships, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are significantly more likely to experience family violence … Read More

Australian NGO Coalition Submission To The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

This report to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (the CERD Committee) examines Australia’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The report is intended to inform the Committee’s review of Australia during its 94th session in November 2017. It has been prepared with substantial input by … Read More

Change The Record’s Free to Be Kids: National Plan of Action

Our political leaders have a responsibility to make sure children grow up safe and are supported to meet their full potential, in their communities: free to be kids. Yet across Australia, children are being abused in prisons by authorities meant to protect them. Overwhelmingly the children being imprisoned and abused are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Submission to Closing the Gap Refresh ‘The Next Phase’ Public Discussion Paper

NATSILS welcomes this opportunity to make a submission to the Closing the Gap Refresh (the Refresh) process. NATSILS understands that the Refresh is an opportunity for the development of a national, holistic, whole-of-government response to addressing substantive equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in respect of health, education, employment and, we argue, justice outcomes. NATSILS, along with the … Read More

Submission to ALP’s Consultation Draft of the National Policy Platform

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) is the peak national body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) in Australia. NATSILS brings together over 40 years’ experience in the provision of legal advice, assistance, representation, community legal education, advocacy, law reform activities and prisoner through-care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in contact … Read More

Submission to Australian Law Reform Commission’s Review of the Family Law System – Issues Paper

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) is the peak national body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) in Australia. NATSILS brings together over 40 years’ experience in the provision of legal advice, assistance, representation, community legal education, advocacy, law reform activities and prisoner throughcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in contact … Read More

Submission to the Review of the Indigenous Legal Assistance Programme

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS), as the peak national body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) in Australia, welcomes this opportunity to submit to the Review of the Indigenous Legal Assistance Programme (ILAP). ILAP is administered by the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department (the Department) and is the primary (if not sole) source … Read More

The Children’s Report: Australia’s NGO coalition report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child

This report has been submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (Children’s Committee) by the Australian Child Rights Taskforce. In this integrated report, the views of children and young people across Australia sit in close association with the contributions of 93 non-government organisations (NGOs) and subject matter experts committed to improving the protection, promotion and … Read More

Submission to Australian Law Reform Commission’s Review of the Family Law System – Discussion Paper

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcomes the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) Review of the Family Law System (the Inquiry). NATSILS understands that the Inquiry is an opportunity for the reform of the family law system, particularly in relation to how it can be updated to respond to the needs of diverse Aboriginal and Torres … Read More

Joint Submission to the Inquiry into the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management and Cashless Welfare) Bill 2019

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) and Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) write to oppose the expansion of the cashless debit card trials set out in the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management and Cashless Welfare) Bill 2019 (the Bill).

Feedback on the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) is the peak national body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) in Australia. NATSILS brings together over 40 years’ experience in the provision of legal advice, assistance, representation, community legal education, advocacy, law reform activities and prisoner through-care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in contact … Read More

Stories of self-determination— Community-controlled legal services working for justice

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, sovereignty always comes back to land because we are peoples who have been dispossessed. But it’s important to think about what happens on that land in post-colonial Australia. Sovereignty is about land and more —it’s also about local government, self-government and control over service delivery.

Briefing to the United Nations Subcommittee for the Prevention Against Torture

We welcome the opportunity to present this report to the United Nations Subcommittee Prevention of Torture informed by our experience and knowledge of the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in places of detention around Australia.

NATSILS submission to the Council of Attorneys General Consultation on Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Council of Attorneys-General regarding the review of the age of criminal responsibility.

NATSILS Policy Statement on COVID-19

We, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) members believe in compassion and justice always, especially now.

Joint NGO Submission on behalf of the Australian NGO Coalition for the United Nations Human Rights Council Periodic Review

The Universal Periodic Review NGO Coordinating Committee is proud to bring you Australia’s Human Rights Scorecard: Australia’s 2020 United Nations UPR NGO Coalition Report. This Report was written in collaboration with human rights experts across Australia, and has been endorsed, in whole or in part, by over 200 Australian NGOs. It represents the collective knowledge of Australia’s leading NGOs on … Read More

Submission to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee Regarding the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Bills 2019

The Family Court deals with complex family law matters and family law matters that require a specialised approach. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Bill 2019 (Cth) and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2019 (Cth) (the Amended Merger Bills) would collapse the Family Court into a generalised court, becoming … Read More

Submission to the Disability Royal Commission’s Criminal Justice Issues Paper

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) is pleased to make this submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability.

Submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19

We are all, without exception, affected by COVID-19. However, there will be people who suffer more than others, particularly our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The ongoing impacts of colonisation, land dispossession and family separation mean that our people are already experiencing the worst impacts of inequitable health.

Policy Statement: “Black Lives Matter: always have, always will”

While some have tried to distance Australia from what’s happening in the United States in an attempt to shut down the truth about the real and ongoing impacts of colonisation, we have also seen Australia’s history of slavery and stolen wages, and the deaths of our people in police or prison custody brought to the forefront of this discussion.

Submission to the Commonwealth Parliament’s inquiry on Homelessness in Australia

As noted in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, homelessness for our people is the direct result of the loss of Aboriginal land. Homelessness is part of the ongoing legacy of colonisation for our people. Without strategies which acknowledge the complex factors driving the incidence of homelessness in our people, particularly those that and which empower us to … Read More

Submission to the Commonwealth Parliament’s inquiry into family and domestic violence

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the right to live their lives in safety, with full human dignity and free from all forms of violence, including family violence. While most of our families have strong and healthy relationships, our people are significantly more likely to experience family violence than non-Indigenous people

Submission to the Inquiry into the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Continuation of Cashless Welfare) Bill 2020

Income management currently withholds 50% of a person’s income support payment which is available through Services Australia’s Basics Card (Basics Card).1 There are currently over 35,000 people subjected to income quarantining – either income management or cashless debit – around Australia.