“Respect and honour” will underpin ethical research guidelines review

Friday, 22 June 2018 - 10:00am
Karajarri Senior Cultural Advisor Mervyn Mulardy with sons, being interviewed and filmed by AIATSIS researcher Nell Reidy, near Bidyadanga, WA.
Karajarri Senior Cultural Advisor Mervyn Mulardy with sons, being interviewed and filmed by AIATSIS researcher Nell Reidy, near Bidyadanga, WA. Photo: AIATSIS

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) has announced a review, including an invitation for public feedback, of the Guidelines for Ethical Research in Australian Indigenous Studies (GERAIS), to ensure they remain at the forefront of ethical research practice.

The review is part of AIATSIS’ ongoing commitment to providing national and international leadership in the ethical practice of research concerning Indigenous peoples.

AIATSIS Council Chairperson Professor Michael McDaniel said engaging ethically means many things but ultimately it is about respect and honour.

“For me, it is yindyamarra, a Wiradjuri concept which means to act with honour and respect, wisdom, to go slowly and act responsibly, be gentle and polite and honest with each other, be careful of the words and actions you put out to the world and understand the impact they have,” said Professor McDaniel.

AIATSIS CEO Craig Ritchie said the AIATSIS Guidelines are regularly updated to reflect changes in critical areas of ethical practice, but this represents the most substantial review since 2012.

“Next year marks twenty years since the Guidelines were first released, and whilst they have established themselves as standard best practice, they were quite revolutionary at the time,” said Mr Ritchie.

“They proceed from a human rights framework which is what distinguishes them as world best practice for engaging in Australian Indigenous research. They affirm that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples expect to be fully engaged in any processes, projects and activities that may impact on us. The Guidelines recognise that we have the right to control and maintain our culture and heritage, and that means benefiting from research and data collected by, with and about us.”

Under the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Act 1989, AIATSIS has a legislated mandate to provide leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research ethics. The aim is to ensure that GERAIS continues to represent the highest ethical standards of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research.

AIATSIS is inviting public feedback to help inform the review. If you would like to participate please visit Ethical research.

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Last reviewed: 22 Jun 2018