Since our formation, Cape York Institute has been at the forefront of Indigenous policy and is widely recognised as Australia’s leading Indigenous think-tank.

Working together for social change with Indigenous Cape York communities

Over the last 12 months, three Department of Jobs and Small Business staff members have travelled to Cape York in Far North Queensland to work alongside not-for-profit organisations. The work secondments, facilitated by Jawun, assist with the implementation of...

Radical Heart Review: Rocky road to reconciliation

This is a political memoir of sorts, documenting seven years of intellectual hard grind and recognition lobbying efforts. There is a three-part notion of Australian identity taking root alongside the flowering movement for indigenous constitutional recognition, one...

Radical Heart- Shireen Morris Book Extract

Malcolm Turnbull could have just said no. Instead he made the dishonest “No” case. Why? My best explanation is that he got scared by the Indigenous consensus. Scared by the growing, widespread public support. A constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice, modest as...

Land Council says one claim isn’t taking away land owners’ rights

THE Cape York Land Council has assured traditional land owners behind the largest native title claim in Australian history that their rights won’t be locked out. A number of people have spoken against how the claim is being handled at a recent Federal Court of...

Empowered Aboriginals to succeed: Pearson

Cape York leader Noel Pearson has criticised the progressive side of politics and the Aboriginal "industry" as being massive with too much of the $30 billion-plus spent annually going on costs and not helping indigenous people. Cape York Institute for Policy and...

Nigel Scullion Invites Groups to Submit Proposals to Regain Control of Land

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has invited Aboriginal groups from around the country to submit proposals to regain control of their land, service delivery and government funding. The move followed success in designing the next stage of the Cape York...

Noel Pearson says constitutional voice a ‘real chance’

Enshrining an indigenous advisory body in the constitution was a “real chance” and “not really any more a question of whether but how”, Cape York leader Noel Pearson has declared. Mr Pearson said last week’s parliamentary committee report into the idea of an...

Australia needs a new deal: fairness and economic growth – Noel Pearson

The next federal election will be fought with fairness in one corner and animal spirits in the other. Changing the rules of industrial combat with red gloves, and deregulating the rules with the blue. Hospitals and schools v banks and private equity. This fight is a...

Radical Heart Launched

It's been a very busy few weeks of launches and media for the new book, Radical Heart, by Shireen Morris from Cape York Institute. The book documents Shireen's personal story working in Constitutional Recognition for the past seven years. A...

Calls for decade-long cashless welfare card trial on Cape York Peninsula to continue

Members of an Aboriginal community on Cape York Peninsula are calling for their income management trial to continue, saying their town has changed for the better. Hope Vale is one of five communities that have been part of the decade-long Cape York Welfare Reform...

Shireen Morris: The Uluru Statement From The Heart: Why I Have Hope

Nine months after the Prime Minister’s rejection of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, I remain hopeful constitutional recognition can still be achieved. The Uluru Statement created a massive political opportunity that is not going away. The opportunity remains alive...

Interim report set to test ideas on Recognition

A federal parliamentary committee will “feed the ball into the scrum” with its first report on constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at the end of the month, according to one of its chairmen. The 11-member committee was set up...

Constitutional Recognition: A Wicked Problem?

Little more than a year after an unprecedented gathering of Indigenous elders and academics, delegates and activists, delivered the Uluru Statement from the Heart — and thereby laying out a new road map to constitutional recognition and substantive equality for...

OPINION: The Government sets the goal posts, only to move them when Indigenous people score

The struggle for rights, even dignity, for Indigenous people in this country could be likened to precariously building a sandcastle in cyclonic conditions. Our government is the tantrum throwing brat that comes in and stomps on our carefully crafted structure. Why?...

Film screens ahead of TV premiere

A FILM screening and a flag raising ceremony will help celebrate NAIDOC Week in Sandgate and Shorncliffe this year. Sandgate writer/director Dean Gibson will show the retrospective documentary film Wik vs Queensland at Sandgate Town Hall at 6.30pm on Sunday, July 8...

New book seeks to renew the push for indigenous recognition

Late last year there was widespread frustration in Australia's indigenous community when the Prime Minister rejected the much-anticipated Uluru Statement from the Heart. The statement called for a 'First Nations Voice' to Parliament to be enshrined in the Constitution...

Memo to migrants: please stay off the path to welfare’ – Noel Pearson:

There is something more important for migrants coming to our country than passing an English language test to become new Australians. Indeed, as much as we want them to assimilate into the language and values of their new home, there is something we do not want them...

Warrior spirits: The Wik women who stood up for their land and communities

The Wik V Queensland case was backed by strength and tenacity of the Traditional Owners, many who were women and leaders in their communities. It was a powerful and potent moment in Australian history. In 1996, the foreground of The High Court, a place most often...

Malcolm Turnbull urged to answer calls for ‘voice’ to parliament

Malcolm Turnbull has been urged to “immediately” answer calls for an indigenous “voice” to parliament regardless of his view on whether the body would win support at a referendum. Launching a comprehensive set of proposals for ways to legislate the voice, as well as...

‘Voice’ plan ready, ‘sense of justice’ still needed

Malcolm Turnbull’s criticism of the Referendum Council’s report on indigenous constitutional recognition — that it contained too little detail — will be answered today with a sweeping set of proposals to be unveiled by former High Court judge Michael Kirby. The...

Pearson ally blasts Recognise campaign as ‘Turnbull’s echo chamber’

The multi-million-dollar Recognise campaign actively undermined indigenous attempts at constitutional recognition and became an “echo chamber” for Malcolm Turnbull because its chief figures were on the government payroll, an explosive new book claims. Recognise, which...

Indigenous community fights to preserve language that gave Australia the word ‘kangaroo’

An Indigenous language that has survived for more than 50,000 years and gave Australia the word "kangaroo" is fighting to stay alive amid fears the number of fluent speakers is dwindling. Guugu-Yimidhirr is the mother tongue of people in Hope Vale on Cape York...

Review: Wik vs Queensland

Any first year law student could tell you the importance of Wik Peoples v Queensland [1996] HCA 40. The High Court was asked to examine whether statutory pastoral leases extinguished the rights of native title holders. The political fallout led to one of the longest...

Noel Pearson offers PM a new path to First Nations voice

Noel Pearson has offered Malcolm Turnbull an olive branch on indigenous constitutional recognition, telling a parliamentary committee there are ways to ensure a proposed advisory voice to parliament does not become a “third chamber” or additional representative...

Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti: AFL player passionate about indigenous education

Indigenous AFL star Anthony “Walla” McDonald-Tipungwuti could not read or write when he was thrown into a Victorian school at the age of 16. He spoke very little English and was more than 3,000 kilometres from the island he grew up on. For many this would seem like a...

Remember passive welfare? It’s real, it’s still here and it’s hurting our children – Noel Pearson

Passive welfare has fallen out of the lexicon of Australia’s political leaders. Passive welfare is the idea that long-term government income support and certain forms of service delivery actually lock people into welfare dependency. Furthermore, passive welfare...

Law Council supports calls for Voice to Parliament

The Law Council has today called on the Australian Government to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to constitutionally enshrine a representative Voice to the Australian Parliament. The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating...

Aboriginal Councils address concerns at Cairns forum

FAR Northern indigenous communities are urging the Federal Government to extend its housing investment package that is due to end this month. Lockhart Shire Council Mayor Wayne Butcher said overcrowding was a critical issue in his community. The lack of housing was...

Hieu Van Le’s story: one thread in Australia’s rich tapestry

Hieu Van Le arrived on a wooden boat that chugged into Darwin Harbour on a misty dawn in 1977. Since then he has occasionally spoken publicly of how the “profound and moving generosity” that met his arrival 41 years ago became the grounding of a dream for a new life...

Building on the Uluru statement

In July last year, the Referendum Council met with the prime minister. It was a historic moment, and many participants were optimistic that, finally, meaningful constitutional recognition was imminent. They had met to discuss the independent council’s report, which...

Steven Marshall looks to lessons from Noel Pearson

Steven Marshall says his focus as Aboriginal Affairs Minister will be on capacity-building rather than welfare, with the Premier citing inspiration from Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson, with whom he met for the first time this week.Noel Pearson’s clear thinking can...

In the spirit of getting the ball rolling, Noel Pearson offers this ‘Declaration of Australia and the Australian People’

WHEREAS THREE STORIES MAKE AUSTRALIA: the Ancient Indigenous Heritage which is its foundation, the British Institutions built upon it, and the adorning Gift of Multicultural Migration: And whereas Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes...

Symbolic indigenous recognition for all of us – Noel Pearson

In my address to the 50th anniversary dinner of this newspaper in July 2014, I first proposed the concept of the three stories of Australia as follows: Our nation is in three parts. There is our ancient heritage, written in the continent and...

Noel Pearson’s stories from the heart of Australia

Three stories that “make Australia” are the centrepiece of a historic declaration drafted by Noel Pearson that he believes should stand alongside the nation’s Constitution to provide recognition of indigenous peoples for the first time. The...

Danny Gilbert: Why we need an Indigenous ‘voice to the Parliament’

Twelve months later we yet have another Joint Select Committee considering Indigenous Constitutional Recognition. We had the Expert Panel in 2012, a Joint Select Committee in 2015 and the Referendum Council in 2017. In June 2017, the Referendum Council recommended a...

Regions key to giving voice to recognition, says Noel Pearson

Indigenous constitutional recognition will remain “unresolved” unless the proposed advisory voice to parliament is taken to a referendum, Noel Pearson has warned, setting up a new battle with Malcolm Turnbull over the Prime Minister’s rejection of this option....

Two years on from the Palaszczuk intervention, it’s time for a report on Aurukun school

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, two years ago you wanted the Aurukun school on Cape York to be “just like any Queensland school”. Is it now the kind of school you wanted? Perhaps you should return to see how it is faring since your government’s abrupt takeover on May...

We Must be Actors in Our Own Destiny – Noel Pearson

This gap won’t close until black fellas take charge of our lives and governments allow and enable us to do so with their support. For all of Malcolm Turnbull’s talk about “doing things with indigenous people and not to them”, in reality there is no “with”. This...

Australia Day on January 25-26 a ‘noble’ compromise between old and new | Noel Pearson

The observance of Australia Day could commence on January 25 — the eve of the proclamation of British sovereignty over the east coast of the continent — and continue into January 26. This would straddle two sovereignties: the sovereignty of the First Nations that...

Shireen Morris: Don’t Change the Date, Change Its Meaning

When Captain Cook made his treacherous voyage to Australia in 1770, he carried with him secret instructions from the British King, authorising him to ‘take possession of convenient situations in the country in the name of the King of Great Britain’ but to do so ‘with...

Indigenous Australians ‘taking power back’ from government in Queensland

The newly-appointed CEO of a peak body fighting for indigenous communities in north Queensland said the Cape York Land Council wants to "take the power back from government" and flip the current funding model on its head. Speaking to nine.com.au, Fiona Jose who...

Christian Porter lashes out at lawyer Shireen Morris in recognition row

Tensions over the Turnbull government’s dismissal of proposals for indigenous constitutional recognition have erupted, with a senior minister lashing out at a lawyer central in the process after being accused of putting his own job above the national interest. Social...

Warring Turnbull and Abbott betray indigenous recognition, says Pearson

Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott used indigenous constitutional recognition as a disposable weapon in their internecine war and had ambitions “only for themselves and not for the country”, Cape York lawyer Noel Pearson has alleged in an explosive new attack. In a...

Shireen Morris: Turnbull’s rejection of an Indigenous voice to parliament is immoral and foolish

Australians should know the facts of the Turnbull government’s despicable rejection of the Uluru “statement from the heart” and the Referendum Council’s report on constitutional recognition. First Dog on the Moon nailed the truth: this government was never interested...

‘PM has broken our hearts’: Noel Pearson

Cape York leader Noel Pearson says, "There's no reconciliation and recognition under this Prime Minister," after Cabinet rejected a proposal for an Indigenous voice to Parliament to be enshrined in the constitution. Indigenous leaders at the Uluru convention in May...

Plan would restore self-determination in Qld

The way billions of taxpayer dollars is used for services in Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities would be turned on its head under a plan that has been hailed as the most important policy document put forward in the state since the 1800s....

Troubled Cape York school’s results plunge

Key NAPLAN results have plunged in the Aboriginal school on Cape York at the centre of a bitter row between the Queensland government and indigenous leader Noel Pearson, who is championing back-to-basics education reform. Aurukun State School was closed for a...

Media Release: Fiona Jose Appointed as CEO

The board of Cape York Partnership is pleased to announce the appointment of Fiona Jose as the incoming CEO. She will succeed current CEO, Duncan Murray, at the end of 2017. Cape York Partnership (CYP), founded by Noel Pearson, is widely acknowledged as one of...

Shireen Morris, Noel Pearson: Indigenous voice ideal option for constitutional change

The Referendum Council’s two simple recommendations this week break the impasse presented by previous reports on recognition of indigenous Australians. The report identifies a single proposition that can be guided through the narrow window of constitutional...

Resistance to full embrace jars 25 years after Mabo

Today it is 25 years since the High Court of Australia ruled in favour of Eddie Mabo and his Meriam people in rejecting the old fiction that Australia was terra nullius: a land without owners. Murray Island in the Torres Strait finally brought this country into line...

Good policy and effective programmes are vital drivers of change. Understanding the things that people want to change and delivering outcomes is our core focus. Alongside this, we work to convince governments and lead national conversations to bring about a better future for the people of Cape York. Driven by the Cape York Agenda we work to shift ‘business as usual’ approaches to Indigenous affairs. We accept that we are endeavouring to solve ‘wicked problems’ that are impervious to change and are extremely interconnected. We know that when we make progress in one area, we often expose issues in other areas. Inspired and informed by the thinking of old people and past Cape York leaders, we develop policies that will empower Indigenous people to be the architects of their own futures. Uniquely, our policy development is centrally influenced by our real-world experience in Cape York, including through our O-Hubs, Cape York Employment, the Cape York Leaders Program, the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy and the Family Responsibilities Commission.

Cape York Institute’s principal focus is in three areas:

We partner with Indigenous people, governments, universities and the private sector to develop and deliver more effective ways forward. We take the best of the lessons provided from:

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF CAPE YORK

ACADEMIA
AND RESEARCH

ON-THE-GROUND PRACTICAL IMPLEMENTATION

Our work is inspired and informed by the thinking of old people and past Cape York leaders. We continue to work closely with Cape York leaders today. At the heart of our work is the need to empower Indigenous people so that they can truly be the architects of their own futures.

We look both nationally and internationally at various successful approaches to development, and adapt and apply the lessons learnt for the Cape York context.

Including through our close work with the O-Hubs, Cape York Employment, the Cape York Leaders Program, the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy and the Family Responsibilities Commission. We recognise that success in this area depends on innovation and learning from real world experience.