Each of the four major parties have released Indigenous Affairs policy platforms -
The Liberal-National Coalition
The Labor Party
And the Greens
The Labor policy remains largely unchanged from what is currently in place, although Labor’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin (also Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services) recently said Labor would ‘implement the government's earlier promise of constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples if re-elected.’ (see Maddison 2010)
The Liberals under John Howard also made this promise in 2007 and currently the Coalition is promising to raise the issue in a 2013 referendum. Their 2010 policy platform notes the ‘recognition of Indigenous Australians in the constitution makes sense, and is overdue’.
The Greens Platform likewise states that the “Australian Constitution must recognise the prior occupation and sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
Given this broad cross-party support, a referendum on changes to the Constitution appears a prospect for the 2013 election, even though the issue has been viewed as politically tendentious.)
In terms of Labor’s continuation of the Liberals controversial ‘Northern Territory Emergency Response’, Labor has now reinstated the Racial Discrimination Act with income management being imposed across Australia. Kevin Rudd promised in November 2008 to ‘Close the Gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation. Support for the program has been reiterated under Julia Gillard. And while the benefits delivered by the Intervention in remote Aboriginal communities has been questioned on a range of levels (See for instance - NATSIEC; Altman 2010; Russell and Wenham 2010; and Scullion, the program appears likely to continue in the event of either a Labor or Coalition win this Saturday.