Government policies are created to provide direction for Information Institutions.
Unfortunately, there are not many Indigenous policies for Museums or Archives. Which is the reason for the focus of this page on “Library Policies”, which have a massive amount of policies and procedures, yet little feedback concerning the evaluation and outcomes of these
At the end of this page I will demonstrate a overarching library Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocol for libraries to follow.
1982 Freedom of Information Act
The general objects of this Art are:
(1) The objects of this Act are to give the Australian community access to information held by the Government of the Commonwealth, by:
(a) requiring agencies to publish the information; and
(b) providing for a right of access to documents.
(2) The Parliament intends, by these objects, to promote Australia’s representative democracy by contributing towards the following:
(a) increasing public participation in Government processes, with a view to promoting better informed decision making;
(b) increasing scrutiny, discussion, comment and review of the Government’s activities.
(3) The Parliament also intends, by these objects, to increase recognition that information held by the Government is to be managed for public purposes, and is a national resource.
(4) The Parliament also intends that functions and powers given by this Act are to be performed and exercised, as far as possible, to facilitate and promote public access to information, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost.
1983 Archival Act
The objects of this Act are:
(a) to provide for a National Archives of Australia, whose functions include:
(i) identifying the archival resources of the Commonwealth; and
(ii) preserving and making publicly available the archival resources of the Commonwealth; and
(iii) overseeing Commonwealth record keeping, by determining standards and providing advice to Commonwealth institutions; and
(b) to impose record keeping obligations in respect of Commonwealth records.
1988 Black Deaths in Custody – recommendation 53
53. That Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments provide access to all government archival records pertaining to the family and community histories of Aboriginal people so as to assist the process of enabling Aboriginal people to re-establish community and family links with those people from whom they were separated as a result of past policies of government. The Commission recognises that questions of the rights to privacy and questions of confidentiality may arise and recommends that the principles and processes for access to such records should be negotiated between government and appropriate Aboriginal organisations, but such negotiations should proceed on the basis that as a general principle access to such documents should be permitted. (2:79)
1988 Privacy Act
The objects of this Act are:
(a) to promote the protection of the privacy of individuals; and
(b) to recognise that the protection of the privacy of individuals is balanced with the interests of entities in carrying out their functions or activities; and
(c) to provide the basis for nationally consistent regulation of privacy and the handling of personal information; and
(d) to promote responsible and transparent handling of personal information by entities; and
(e) to facilitate an efficient credit reporting system while ensuring that the privacy of individuals is respected; and
(f) to facilitate the free flow of information across national borders while ensuring that the privacy of individuals is respected; and
(g) to provide a means for individuals to complain about an alleged interference with their privacy; and
(h) to implement Australia’s international obligation in relation to privacy.
1988 Queensland Libraries Act
The Queensland Libraries Act Indigenous statement is“respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures should be affirmed”. https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/2009-07-01/act-1988-029
1991 Anti-Discrimination Act .
One of the purposes of the Previous Anti Discrimination Act is to promote equality of opportunity for everyone by protecting them from unfair discrimination in certain areas of activity, including work, education and accommodation.
In Australia, it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a number of protected attributes including age, disability, race, sex, intersex status, gender identity and sexual orientation in certain areas of public life, including education and employment. Australia’s federal anti-discrimination laws are contained in the following legislation:
- Age Discrimination Act 2004
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992
- Racial Discrimination Act 1975
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984.
1995 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols for Libraries, Archives, and Information Services
(Protocols) were published in conjunction with ATSILIRN (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library, Information and Resources Network). This was the first policy created to guide library, archive and information service providers with handling Indigenous materials and interacting with Indigenous peoples. Then re-released in 2010 http://atsilirn.aiatsis.gov.au/protocols.php
1995 State Library of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Career Development Policy – five year plan.
Aims were equity of Indigenous recruitment into the library based on proportion of Indigenous people in Queensland population; extend representation of Indigenous staff at all levels and occupational groups within library; ensure that career development programs are provided or readily accessible to Indigenous staff to promote career mobility and enhance career paths so that they can achieve equity in status and salary levels; Provide cultural awareness materials for incorporating into training courses conducted by the library to non-Indigenous staff to achieve some measure of cross-cultural understanding. 1995 ATSI Employment and Career
1996 Australian library information association [ALIA] “Hey Look out ! Show me !”
A strategy to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples into libraries. Material held out concerning this theme was a brochure and video. The video covers a number of issues relating to Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders and their relationship with libraries including some of the reasons why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people work in libraries” — container. TROVE – Work identifier https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/22637950
Brochure 1995 ALIA Hey Look Out awareness guidelines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Recruitment and Career Development Strategy for the library and information sector.
1997 A plan to deliver library services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Western Australia
A plan to deliver library services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Western Australia : from the JS Battye Library of West Australian History and the State Reference Library / Library and Information Service of Western Australia.
A historical document to the understanding of needs for library’s towards Indigenous library issues such as Employment & Training; Accessibility, Promotion & Use; Collections access and development; Intellectual property issues; Description and classification of material in Catalogues; removal of offensive material; governance and management; raising community awareness; cultural awareness and training of staff and Evaluation/ Reviewing and Reporting.
1999 – ALIA – Why Libraries? An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Recruitment and Career Development Strategy for the Library and Information Sector.
This policy focused on work experience opportunities to combine higher education with employment at the library for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. A handout for
2002 Public Records Act.
The main purpose of this Act are to ensure (a) the public records of Queensland are made, managed, kept and, if appropriate, preserved in a use able form for the benefit of present and future generations; and (b) public access to records under this Act is consistent with the principles of the Right to Information Act 2009 https://www.qlrc.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/371991/RightInfoA09.pdf and the Information Privacy Act 2009 . https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2008-038
2003 Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act (Queensland Museum).
The main purpose of this Act is to provide effective recognition, protection, and conservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage. https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-2003-079.
2003 State Library of Queensland – Indigenous Library Services Strategy
The Indigenous Library Service Strategy was released to provide direction. The Indigenous Library Services Strategy aimed at improving access and equity through five objectives.
- Establishing Indigenous Knowledge Centres primarily in Cape York and Torres Strait regions;
- Improving service delivery to Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders through public libraries across Queensland;
- Establishing kuril dhagun, the Indigenous Knowledge Centre in the State Library;
- Ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections and cultures are represented in public library spaces and
- Increasing employment and training opportunities in libraries for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.
2007 The Indigenous Library service changed direction to focus on the Indigenous Knowledge Centre 2007 Indigenous Library Services
2006 State Library – Protocols for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collections
This protocol had several objectives, 1. Moral, cultural, and intellectual property rights; 2. Access and use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander material and information; 3. Description and classification of materials and information; 4. Secret or sacred material; 5. Offensive materials and information; 6. Governance; 7. Staffing; 8. Professional practice and 9. Copying and repatriation of records to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
2006 State Library’s – Reconciliation Strategy
The State Library Strategy was based on the principles of:
- understanding and accepting the history of our shared experience between Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders and the wider community;
- respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and identities;
- recognising that past injustices continue to give rise to present injustices for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.
2007 National Policy Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library Services and Collections was created by the National and State Libraries Australasia [NSLA]
A library policy written to direct library institutions to focus on core business duties in opening up indigenous resources. https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/www.slq.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/74141/nsla_national_policy_framework_for_aboriginal_and_torres_strait_islander_library_services_and_collections.pdf
2007 Our Place is Your Place — Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Training Strategy 2006–2010
Gave provision for employing and training Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders in libraries settings and raising awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and experiences amongst library workers. 2007 SLQ ILS Strat_Our_Place_is_Your_Place_Final
2010 State Library of Queensland – Library Services Standard for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders.
To provide standards and guidelines for public libraries, including Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs), for the delivery of library services for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders. http://www.plconnect.slq.qld.gov.au/resources/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-people/strategies-and-standards/library-services-standard-for-aboriginal-people-and-torres-strait-islanders and available as a pdf at http://www.plconnect.slq.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/150547/150547_Library_Services_Standard_for_Aboriginal_people_and_Torres_Strait_Islanders.pdf
2011 State Library of Queensland – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce strategy 2012-16.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Strategy 2012–2016 outlines SLQ’s commitment to leading and facilitating sustainable employment, training, retention and career development pathways for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders. Through four key aims;
- Attract talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to employment opportunities at SLQ;
- Retain talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees;
- Further develop the capability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and
- Build a culture of engagement that values and respects cultural diversity in the workplace.
2012-13 State Library of Queensland – progression report
2012 UPDATE – 1995 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols for Libraries, Archives, and Information Services
2013-14 State Library of Queensland Reconciliation Action Plan
State Library’s RAP commits and contributes to reconciliation by focusing on the 4 key program areas set by Reconciliation Australia – relationships, respect, opportunities and accountability. These actions will be reflected in individual branch plans which will ensure our activities are owned by and involve the participation of staff across our organisation. An integral part of the State Library of Queensland Strategic Plan 2012–2016
https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/www.slq.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/237907/reconciliation-action-plan-2012-13.pdf Progress Report https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/www.slq.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/249563/rap201213-report.pdf
2014 NSLA – Position Statement: Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Library Services And Collections
National and State Libraries Australasia* (NSLA) will promote standards of excellence across the library and information sector, with a focus on the following key areas:
- The right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be informed about collections that exist relating to them, their culture, language and heritage.
- The right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to determine use and access provisions for heritage materials which reflect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture, language and perspectives.
- The inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in decision making processes, at all levels, to achieve informed and appropriate directions and agendas across the library and information sector.
- The development of strategies to increase employment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff within the library and information sector.
- The development of strategies to strengthen cultural competency across our workforce, including knowledge and awareness of issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander library users.
- The development of strategies to return usable copies of collection material to cultural owners to support cultural and language maintenance or revitalisation.
* Renamed National and State Libraries Australia in 2018. https://www.nsla.org.au/node/10
2015-18 State Library of Queensland Stretch Reconciliation Plan.
Our vision for reconciliation
State Library of Queensland creatively shares and promotes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ knowledge and cultures
as integral to Queensland’s identity.
Our core business
State Library of Queensland (SLQ) is a vibrant and innovative 21st century library. It is an inclusive and welcoming place for all, a trusted source of information, a place for intellectual freedom and creativity, and the primary custodian of Queensland’s memory. As a physical and virtual place/space for sharing, learning, collaborating and creating, State Library meets its legislative responsibility of contributing to the cultural, social and intellectual development of all Queenslanders.
Our key services include:
- advocacy for public library services for all Queenslanders
- public library development including grants, administration and management
- collection services and professional development
- promoting research and understanding of our unique Queensland history through the John Oxley Library
- capturing and documenting the story of Queensland for current and future generations
- managing the life cycle for the State collection assets valued in excess of $101 million, including acquisition, description,preservation, access and discovery
- onsite and online visitor and information services including information/research services, venue hire, cafe, and bookshop
- creative and culturally engaged programs with children, youth, family, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities
- centres of engagement with children and young people (The Corner); Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (kuril dhagun and Indigenous Knowledge Centres); arts, science, technology and enterprise (The Edge); and design (Asia Pacific Design Library)
Queensland public libraries offer a vast range of resources, programs and activities that promote community engagement and inclusion by bringing people together and facilitating positive social and learning experiences.
2019 Australian Library and Information Association [ALIA] Improving library services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
With Queensland it focused on work performed by the public library divisions, not the content development division https://alia.org.au/sites/default/files/Indigenous%20collections%20and%20services%202019%20report_FINAL.pdf
Current Government Policies
Most library policies are intertwined with other government policies such as
2016-2022 Moving Ahead strategy
2018-2021 – Stretch – Queensland Government Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)
Actions – Relationships | Respect | Opportunities
Closing the Gap 2019 Report –
Code of Conduct for the Queensland public service.
The Code of Conduct was developed to strengthen the integrity and accountability of the Queensland public service:
- demonstrate the government’s commitment to the highest levels of integrity and accountability
- reflect the principles and values underlying good public administration
- identify consistent standards of conduct for all employees
- provide a framework for ethical culture.
- clarify for the public what they, and we, as employees of the Queensland public sector, expect of ourselves, our colleagues and our organisation.
World Intellectual Property Organisation [WIPO]. 1993 Mataatua Declaration on Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Declare that Indigenous Peoples of the world have the right to self determination: and in exercising that right must be recognised as the exclusive owners of their cultural and intellectual property.
- Acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples have a commonality of experiences relating to the exploitation of their cultural and intellectual property;
- Affirm that the knowledge of the Indigenous Peoples of the world is of benefit to all humanity;
- Recognise that Indigenous Peoples are capable of managing their traditional knowledge themselves, but are willing to offer it to all humanity provided their fundamental rights to define and control this knowledge are protected by the international community;
- Insist that the first beneficiaries of indigenous knowledge (cultural and intellectual property rights) must be the direct indigenous descendants of such knowledge;
- Declare that all forms of discrimination and exploitation of indigenous peoples, indigenous knowledge and indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights must cease.
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (PDF)
National and State Libraries Australasia [NASLA]:
- Guidelines for Working with Community. https://www.nsla.org.au/resources/working-community
- Position statement: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander library services and collections. https://www.nsla.org.au/sites/default/files/documents/nsla.indigenous-position-statement-2014.pdf
- Case studies based on the National position statement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander library services and collections (2014-15) July 2015 https://www.nsla.org.au/sites/default/files/documents/nsla.indigenous_position_statement_case_studies.pdf