Research that respects the dignity and well-being of Indigenous people

Equality in health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is possible if we recognise rights as well as relationships and responsibilities.

It has been well-stated before that ‘rights are not abstract concepts that exist in documents. Rights are only rights when they are exercised’.

Through its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Strategy, The George Institute for Global Health is bringing research into the lives of Indigenous people that respects dignity and well-being.

For the first time, the unacceptable gap in life expectancy was thrust into the Australian consciousness as a matter of national importance and urgency when the Australian Human Rights Commission made Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health a human rights issue.

This basis in human rights also laid a new pathway for Australia to redress entrenched ineffective approaches to the complex issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s health.

Human rights as they relate to Indigenous peoples can be categorised into four key principles:

  • Self-determination
  • Participation in decision-making, underpinned by free, prior and informed consent and good faith
  • Respect for and protection of culture, and
  • Equality and non-discrimination

Against these four principles, the real impact and effectiveness of health research can be measured.

I am enormously proud to be associated with a leading research organisation that brings these principles to life.

Mick Gooda
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Social Justice Commissioner

More about Mick Gooda

Mick Gooda is a descendent of the Gangulu people of central Queensland and is the current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. His term in this position commenced in February 2010.

Mick has a long experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, having worked remote, rural and urban environments throughout Australia for over 30 years. He has a strong record of achievement in implementing program and organisational reform and delivering strategic and sustainable results across the country.

As Commissioner, Mick builds on this experience to advocate the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia and then promote respect and understanding of these rights among the broader Australian community.