‘Ask Us … This Is Our Country’: Designing Laws and Policies with Aboriginal Children and Young People

In: The International Journal of Children's Rights
Holly Doel-Mackaway Macquarie University Law School,

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If asked, and asked in the appropriate circumstances, Aboriginal children and young people have much to say about governance, law and policy – particularly about matters that are likely to affect their lives. Findings from field research conducted in the Northern Territory of Australia reveal a group of Aboriginal children and young people’s views about why and how they could be involved in designing legislative provisions such as the Australian Government’s “Northern Territory Emergency Response” and Stronger Futures legislation – commonly referred to as the Intervention. These findings support the conclusion that in order to create culturally appropriate, durable and relevant laws and policies, governments must first seek, then incorporate, Aboriginal children and young people’s views when designing measures likely to affect their lives – and do so in a manner that is consistent with article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (crc).

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