Holly Doel-Mackaway: Policies must be made with – not for – Aboriginal people

Aboriginal children in detention_FEATURE

Holly_FEATUREDr Holly Doel-Mackaway is a lecturer with the Department of Indigenous Studies and an independent children’s rights lawyer and social worker. Her research explores the participation of Aboriginal children in the development of law and policy.

Following last week’s widespread public shock and the announcement of a Royal Commission into the treatment of Aboriginal children in detention in the Northern Territory, Holly was moved to take action, publishing an opinion piece in the Huffington Post and New Matilda.

Read the story here:


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Holly Doel-Mackaway: Policies Must Be Made With Aboriginal People, Not For Them


“This matter has shone a floodlight on Aboriginal children’s human rights and galvanised the support of the nation in a way that has never happened before,” Holly notes. “My aim in writing this article was to influence the appointment of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person to lead the Royal Commission and encourage decision-makers to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people throughout the whole Royal Commission process, not just as witnesses.”

With yesterday’s resignation of Brian Martin OA as head of the Commission, Holly says she is pleased that the Government responded to calls for an Indigenous leader to head the Commission.

“Appointing Mick Gooda to co-lead the Royal Commission with Margaret White is a significant move by the Government toward supporting Indigenous self-determination,” Holly says. “Despite the shaky start, there is renewed hope that the Royal Commission may now offer a significant avenue to address long-standing violations of Indigenous children and young people’s rights in Australia.”

“I am now calling for the establishment of a youth-led Aboriginal Children and Young People’s Advisory Council to work closely with Mick Gooda and Margaret White throughout the Royal Commission process.”

You can follow Holly’s campaign on Twitter (@4ChildRights).


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