Indigenous birth registration and certification in Australia

What’s the story?

Many Indigenous people have trouble obtaining birth certificates. 

In today’s world this can cause a host of problems when someone wants to enrol in education, get a driver’s licence, open a bank account, travel overseas, start a business, get a job in the public service, or even get a tax file number.

In some parts of Australia, driving without a licence can see you end up in jail, and other problems can make an already hard life, even harder.

Preliminary research suggests that in some areas many Aboriginal births go unregistered. 

We want to find out the extent of under registration of Indigenous births, the reasons why some Indigenous Australians don’t register the birth of their children, and why others, whose birth was registered, have difficulties obtaining a copy of their birth certificate. We want to hear the ideas of Indigenous Australians regarding how these problems can be fixed. Such information is critical to coming up with ways of making the process better meet the needs of ALL Australians.

We also want to understand more about the problems that Indigenous Australians face if they don’t have a birth certificate, and what steps they take to overcome these problems.

This website is designed to share information about the Closing the Gap on Indigenous Birth Registration and Certification Project and its progress, provide links to relevant information and resources and introduce you to the research team, our partners and how you can contact us.

Associate Professor Paula Gerber, May 2013.

Associate Professor Paula Gerber - Deputy Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University

Professor Lynette Russell - Director, Monash Indigenous Centre , Monash University

Melissa Castan - Deputy Director & Senior Lecturer, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University

Rod Hagen - Anthropologist and PhD Candidate -  Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University

Associate Professor Jane Freemantle - Principal Research Fellow - Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne.

The Project Team

What will you find here?

Practical links - The websites of the government bodies responsible for registering births and issuing certificates in Australia, together with links to other agencies that may be able to help you obtain registration or certification.

Our publications - Articles and submissions about birth registration and certification from our project team members.

Resources - Articles, Conventions, and other material of relevance to Indigenous Birth Registration, both in Australia and the rest of the world.

The Closing the Gap on Indigenous Birth Registration and Certification Project - a more detailed description of the research project, including the aims, the data being collected, the regions where we will be undertaking our research and the methodology being used.

Got a story to tell? - Are you an Indigenous Australian who has had problems related to birth registration, obtaining a birth certificate, or with proving your personal identity for official purposes (such as getting a licence, a bank account, travel, etc). Tell us about it.

Contact us Want to get directly in touch with a project team member  or find out more about us? Head here.

If YOU’VE got a story to tell about problems with Birth Registration, getting a certificate, or proving your personal identity, then head HERE!

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