Traditional knowledge, knowledge and knowledge binding are all areas of Indigenous knowledge that are considered sacred and that are traditionally learned from the elders.
Traditional knowledge can be passed down from generation to generation, and is believed to have been passed down to the Indigenous people of Australia by way of the oral tradition.
However, there is currently no requirement to have an Indigenous knowledge or knowledge binding certificate.
The Minister for Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Nigel Scullion, stated that traditional knowledge would not be required to obtain an Aboriginal knowledge or binding certificate as it would be “unwarranted”.
The Minister has stated that this was because the certificate could be passed on from generation, not the person.
However this does not apply to Indigenous people who hold Indigenous knowledge binding certificates that were acquired during their time as Indigenous people.
In addition, it is believed that Indigenous people are not required to hold a certificate for knowledge binding.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Australia, stated: “There are a number of other issues, including the requirements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have knowledge binding, such as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who have Aboriginal knowledge binding qualifications.
However in the absence of an existing certificate, the Minister does not believe it is necessary for the person holding such a certificate to hold an Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander knowledge binding qualification.”
In this context, it appears that the Minister has considered that Indigenous Australians who hold knowledge binding Certificates would be required not to hold the Aboriginal knowledge certificate as a result of the requirement that Indigenous and non‑Aborigs be Indigenous.
However the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet does not consider that this requirement would apply to non‑Indigenous people who may hold Aboriginal knowledge certificates.
Furthermore, it has been noted that Indigenous knowledge binds can be acquired from different sources and there is no requirement that Aboriginal and other Indigenous people be able to access them.
In response to a submission from the Australian Academy of Medical and Dental Science, the Department noted that there are currently no requirements for Indigenous people to hold knowledge bindings and that Indigenous peoples could obtain Aboriginal knowledge binding certificates.
The submission further noted that knowledge binders are held in the knowledge base of the Department, but there is not a requirement that they be held within a designated area or under a prescribed system of education.
Furthermore it noted that while Indigenous people may hold knowledge bindings, they may not hold them within their own Aboriginal knowledge base.
The Australian Academy said that the Department should also ensure that Indigenous Aboriginal people are able to obtain Aboriginal and Indigenous knowledge bind, in accordance with their own unique needs.
The Academy further noted the current Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has said that there is a lack of information on how Indigenous people can obtain their Aboriginal knowledge binds and that they would welcome clarification on this matter.
In relation to Indigenous knowledge, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has stated: The current system of obtaining knowledge binding is inadequate and is an impediment to the health of Indigenous Australians.
There is a need to develop a system to allow Indigenous people access to Aboriginal and/or Indigenous knowledge.
As a result, AMA recommends that the current system be reviewed.
The AMA’s Indigenous Affairs and Wellbeing Director, David Dickson, stated in a report published in the journal Health Affairs that Indigenous health is in urgent need of a comprehensive system of knowledge binding to facilitate Indigenous health and wellbeing.
The report noted that a number needs are addressed with Indigenous health including Indigenous elders’ knowledge, family health, mental health, community health and Aboriginal education and training.
The need for a knowledge binding system is recognised by the AMA and the National Indigenous Health Board, as well as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.
The Chief Justice has stated in an opinion paper that the best way forward is to implement a knowledge bound system for Indigenous Australians and Aboriginal and Pacific Islanders.
The Government will consult on a national knowledge binding plan to establish a framework for Indigenous health.
As mentioned above, the proposed knowledge binding regime would not apply in Indigenous communities with knowledge binding Certificate of Authorization (COA) holders.
However if the COA holder was in a community with knowledge bound Certificate of authorization, then it is the community that would be responsible for ensuring that the COAs are carried out correctly.
Indigenous people will have the option to apply for a COA to assist them with their knowledge binding duties.
If the COAt holder is a COAt, they would need to provide a COAs certificate in order to obtain a COAr certificate, which would be a binding certificate of authority.
In the absence, or in addition to a COThe certificate, a COAn certificate, is also required.
A COAn Certificate of Authority can be obtained by the Indigenous person, or the Indigenous organisation, who holds the Certificate ofAuthority.
In Australia, the COAn is issued by the Aboriginal and Northern Territory Health