text of letter to Julia Gillard

Margaret Florey margaret.florey at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 1 07:59:54 UTC 2010

Dear all,

Further to the appeal to support Batchelor Institute (Northern Territory,
Australia), a couple of people who are resisting Facebook have asked for
more details, so here is the text of the letter drafted by the FB website
group, and contact details for Hon Julia Gillard. Please note that they ask
for the letters to be written by tomorrow, 2 June. Please also forward this
to relevant networks. I'm sure international support would be greatly

kind regards,

    Hon Julia Gillard

Deputy Prime Minister; Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations;
Minister for Education; Minister for Social Inclusion

Fax: (02) 6273 4115

Email: Julia.Gillard.MP at aph.gov.au

I am writing to you as I am concerned about recent developments in regards
to Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE), Australia’s
only independent Indigenous tertiary education provider that operates
predominantly in rural and remote parts of Northern Australia, but also
draws its students nationally.

We are concerned by a number of recent developments in the negotiations to
redefine the future direction of the Institute. These include:

· the lack of consultation by BIITE executive, the appointed administrators
(Korda Mentha) and other funding agencies with the Institute’s constituents
(BIITE Council, BIITE staff, BIITE students) over the future of the

· the new draft structure of BIITE which will effectively mean that a large
proportion of degree courses will be delivered by Charles Darwin University

· that none of the BIITE constituents (staff, students, unions, indigenous
communities) have been party to the content or been involved in the
consultation process or been able to put forward alternate options, or
comment on the viability of the higher education courses on offer.

We call on you as the Minister for Education to ensure that proper
consultation takes place with staff students and the Indigenous communities
that rely on the Batchelor Institute to ensure that their communities have
access to safe and culturally appropriate tertiary education, on facilities
that provide the best possible opportunities to for indigenous students to
commit to higher education and have a positive outcome that meets their
aspirations and the expectations of their community.

We call on you as the Minister for Education to take the following steps to
ensure that the Batchelor Institute is restructured in a way that provides
the best possible educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander students:


· Engage in a comprehensive consultation process in accordance with the TOR
as given to Korda Mentha in 2009.

· Engage in a comprehensive consultation process that includes dialogue with
the Indigenous members of Council and the remote communities representing
our students.

· Engage in comprehensive consultation in accordance with Part 14: Managing
Change (clause 111: Management of Change) in the Institute’s current
Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

§ The Australian government has endorsed the universal Declaration of
Indigenous Human Rights in Parliament. We seek you to pay careful
consideration to Article 18:

Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in
matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by
themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain
and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions; and Article
19: States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous
peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to
obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and
implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

Yours sincerely



(organisation if applicable)


Margaret Florey
Consultant linguist
Director, Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity <www.rnld.org>

Email: Margaret.Florey at gmail.com
Ph: +61 (0)4 3186-3727 (mob.)
skype: margaret_florey
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