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Mandate

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission shall:

  • Provide a forum for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to speak and take action on issues of faith, mission and evangelism; of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander spirituality and theology; of social justice and land rights.
  • Serve as a unified voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as they relate to member churches and international ecumenical bodies.
  • Help rebuild self-esteem, pride and dignity within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • Promote harmony, justice and understanding between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider community.
  • Provide a basis for further political action by church-related Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and the member churches of the National Council of Churches in Australia.
  • Administer all funds of the National Council of Churches in Australia relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Share in furthering the objectives and promoting the programmes of the National Council of Churches in Australia.
 

Memorandum of Understanding - see next page.

 
 

Memorandum of Understanding

In 2005, the NCCA and NATSIEC signed a memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The intent of the MOU was to have in place an agreed procedure for the NCCA to act respectfully, appropriately, and in solidarity, with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples, through NATSIEC. Since the original MOU was signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP) has been endorsed, with the Australian Government confirming its support in 2007. At the NCCA Forum held in June 2010 the MOU was amended to recognize this development. Excerpt from the MOU follows.

Preamble

1. The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) and its member Churches are aware of the importance of the First Peoples of this land: the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples who have been custodians been of this country for many thousands of years.

2. The NCCA notes the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and affirms particularly its principles of equality, nondiscrimination, consultation and cooperation when pursuing harmonious and respectful relationships with the First Peoples of this land.

3. The NCCA and the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) acknowledge the importance of mutual respect and understanding by modeling reconciliation to its member Churches and to the wider Australian community; and the benefits of a close and informed relationship.

4. The NCCA is committed to furthering reconciliation and ensuring that the First Peoples of this nation are shown respect and are valued for their contribution to Australian church life.

5. The National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission is mandated to:

“Provide a basis for further political action by church-related Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and the member churches of the National Council of Churches in Australia.”

 

6. The National Council of Churches in Australia is mandated to:

“Encourage and enable the member churches in the light of the Gospel to give prophetic leadership to each other and the community by iv] acting in solidarity with Aboriginal and [Torres Strait] Islander people.”

 

The objective of the MOU is to:

1. Put on record the key requirements of the consultation process for the NationalCouncil of Churches when making comment on Indigenous issues to the member Churches, the wider non-Indigenous community, and the Indigenous community.

2. Ensure that members of NATSIEC and through them, Indigenous communities around Australia, are consulted before statements are made to them and on their behalf by the National Council of Churches in Australia.

The following principles underpin the implementation of this MOU:

1. the NCCA is expected to consult with the NATSIEC in all matters relating to Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia as a matter of respect;

2. as the Indigenous Ecumenical peak body in Australia, the NATSIEC has an important role to play in addressing the NCCA’s involvement in Indigenous issues;

3. particular Member Churches have Indigenous members and/or Indigenous Church bodies with whom they can consult about matters relating to them and NATSIEC encourages Member Churches to use those resources when involving themselves in Indigenous Issues.

 

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