On Monday 12 February 2018, the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, announced the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) will move into the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio.
AIATSIS welcomes the announcement of the portfolio change. This move will place the Institute close to the core of Indigenous policy in the Australian Government and will better enable us to deliver on our legislative responsibilities, including to advise the Government on the situation and status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. We look forward to strengthening the Institute’s cultural advisory role and policy linkages within the portfolio.
AIATSIS will remain an independent statutory authority. Our mission, legislated functions, and role as part of Australia’s national knowledge infrastructure is not affected by this move. The Minister for Indigenous Affairs will now be administratively responsible for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Act 1989. However, the work of AIATSIS is determined independently and is not directed by the Government.
AIATSIS was established over 50 years ago and is a unique institution undertaking a unique combination of activities: a research institute, collecting agency, archive, part-museum and part-gallery. We will continue to strengthen and build upon our deep relationships across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia, our long history of research, and critically, the priceless and unparalleled collection of films, photographs, video and audio recordings, art and objects - the world’s largest collection of printed and other resource materials for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies.
We are looking forward to working closely with the Prime Minister and Minister Scullion in shaping our national narrative and creating opportunities for people to encounter, engage with and be transformed by the story of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia.
Professor Michael McDaniel
Mr Craig Ritchie
Chief Executive Officer