Australia’s New Social Justice Commissioner, Katie Kiss, Pledges to Prioritize Indigenous Voices and Healing

In the aftermath of last year’s Voice referendum, which yielded a disappointing outcome, Australia’s new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Katie Kiss, emphasizes the urgent need for healing and unity. Stepping into her role on Wednesday 3 April, Commissioner Kiss asserts that addressing systemic discrimination against First Nations communities is paramount to moving forward. Australia’s New Social Justice Commissioner, Katie Kiss, Pledges to Prioritize Indigenous Voices and Healing

Commissioner Kiss, a proud Kaanju and Birri/Widi woman raised in Rockhampton, Central Queensland, underscores the importance of centering First Nations voices in discussions about improving Indigenous lives and advancing reconciliation efforts.

“If we are serious about reconciliation, healing, and unifying the nation, the voices of First Nations Peoples must be front and center,” Commissioner Kiss emphasizes. “I want to hear what communities think their priorities are, whether it be about Closing the Gap, youth justice reform, Native Title, truth-telling and treaty, or combatting racism and other structural barriers.”

With her extensive background, including serving as the Executive Director of the Interim Truth and Treaty Body supporting Queensland’s Path to Treaty, Commissioner Kiss brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Her tenure in the Queensland Government, including roles such as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor, further informs her commitment to advancing Indigenous rights.

Australia's New Social Justice Commissioner, Katie Kiss, Pledges to Prioritize Indigenous Voices and Healing

“It is a real honor to take on this role, following the legacy left by the five Social Justice Commissioners who have served over the last 30 years,” Commissioner Kiss remarks. “I’m also proud to be the second woman to hold this position, following the completion of June Oscar AO’s term.”

As Australia commemorates 15 years since endorsing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Commissioner Kiss pledges to see the Declaration fully implemented across the country to protect and advance the rights of First Nations People.

The role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner is critical in promoting respect for Indigenous human rights, conducting research, and undertaking education projects to address systemic injustices. Commissioner Kiss looks forward to collaborating with stakeholders across sectors to champion Indigenous empowerment and rights.

“I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners at the Australian Human Rights Commission, as well as state and territory counterparts, our Elders, community organizations, advocates, business, health and media sectors, and governments, to champion the empowerment of our People,” Commissioner Kiss concludes.

As Australia embarks on this journey of healing and empowerment, Commissioner Katie Kiss stands ready to lead with compassion, dedication, and a steadfast commitment to justice for Indigenous communities.

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