Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New co-chairs elected to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples

The Australian Government today welcomed the election of Ms Jody Broun and Mr Les Malezer as the first elected co-chairs of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

Ms Broun and Mr Malezer were elected in a national ballot of Congress membership.

The new co-chairs will continue to develop the National Congress ahead of its first meeting in June this year.

The Government looks forward to working with the co-chairs, who are both passionate advocates for giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people an effective voice to achieve lasting change.

I would like to pay tribute to the leadership role the current co-chairs, Mr Sam Jeffries and Ms Josephine Bourne and Dr Kerry Arabena, have played in helping to develop the Congress as a national representative body for Indigenous people.

The establishment of the national representative body followed consideration by the Government of the report ‘Our Future in Our Hands’ developed by the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Dr Tom Calma, and an Indigenous Steering Committee.

The Government is committed to resetting the relationship with Indigenous Australians and working with them in new partnerships based on trust, goodwill and mutual respect.

The new executive of the National Congress will be fully operational by July, and will provide a central mechanism with which governments, the corporate and community sectors can engage and partner on reform initiatives.

The National Congress will bring to the table an informed and strong national voice for the goals, aspirations, interests and values of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The establishment of a national representative body delivers on an important election commitment made by this Government.