The legislative and policy frameworks surrounding the Northern Territory Emergency Response and the Stronger Futures legislation affect thousands of Indigenous peoples in the Northern Territory. These frameworks directly and indirectly impact on the lives of Indigenous children and young people yet they were developed without appropriate consultation with Indigenous peoples. Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child requires the Australian Government to ensure children and young people have the opportunity to express their views, and have these views taken into consideration about all matters affecting them.
This paper presents findings arising from research conducted with Indigenous children and young people about why they should be involved in law and policy making about matters involving them. The three key reasons participants cited for why they should be involved in law and policy development were (a) to privilege Aboriginal children and young people’s views as the rightful owners of the land (b) to acknowledge the importance of Aboriginal law and (c) to produce better laws and policies. This paper suggests that seeking, listening to, and responding to the views of Indigenous children and young people opens new possibilities to build a future based on respect for Indigenous peoples.