Submission: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages in the Australian Curriculum

The HRLC has welcomed the development of a draft Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages in Australia’s national curriculum, which has been developed by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. "Given the strong links language has with culture and identity, it is essential that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are preserved and promoted through inclusion in Australia's national curriculum," said the HRLC's Ben Schokman.

The HRLC’s submission identifies Australia’s international human rights obligations relating to the preservation and promotion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, including:

  • the right to culture;
  • the right to education;
  • children’s rights, including the best interests of the child, right to life, survival and development, and right to culture; and
  • the right to equality and non-discrimination.

The submission also identifies concerns about Australia’s failure to preserve and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages that have been expressed by a number of respected UN bodies in recent years, including the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights.

The HRLC makes a number of recommendations to ensure that the Framework and its implementation is consistent with Australia’s international human rights obligations.

A copy of the HRLC’s submission is available here.

A copy of the draft Framework is available here.