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  • Writer's picture2022 Global Voices Fellow

Indigenous Governance in the Australian Context: The Challenges, and Necessity of an Indigenous Voice for a Safe Climate Future.

By Emily Tammes, The University of Melbourne, UNFCCC, 2021


Emily is studying a Master of Environment at the University of Melbourne Office for Environmental Programs. Her policy paper focuses on Indigenous Governance in the Australian Context: The Challenges, and Necessity of an Indigenous Voice for a Safe Climate Future.


Executive Summary


Across the world, colonial and settler countries are beginning to recognise the inherent value of their Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge, especially with regards to our destabilised climate. However, Indigenous Australians are not formally recognised in the Constitution, nor have they been granted a voice through a dedicated governance structure. Increasingly the literature advocates for a co-generation of climate policies between Indigenous and nonIndigenous knowledges, suggesting that diversity increases resilience (Gadgil et. al., 1993; Agrawal, 1995; Tengö et. al., 2014; Tengö et. al., 2017; Garnett et. al., 2018; Pickerill, 2018; Hill et. al., 2020; Gadgil et. al., 2021 & Theodory, 2021).


This policy paper is grounded in arguments supporting the value of Indigenous knowledge in climate policy and advocates for the benefits of an Australian Indigenous governance structure. Drawing on international examples, it offers adjustments to the current National Voice proposal to increase its potential for positive impact socially, economically and environmentally. The result is an Indigenous governance structure that is constitutionally enshrined, and co-governs alongside the Federal Government, thus thrusting Australia on a path towards true reconciliation.




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