The head of a communication board has said it is time for Australian Indigenous leaders to “open up” marriage and family as they have historically and currently lived in the country.

Key points: AAP/ABC election analyst Peter Lewis has said the political climate is not conducive to marriage equality and a vote to ban same-sex marriage is now a mustRead moreThe head of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communication Boards (ATSICB) says it is “a matter of basic fairness” that Aboriginal people should be able to “live in their own country and in their culture” without discrimination.

“In a society where Aboriginal people have traditionally lived, they have been discriminated against, they’ve had to deal with all sorts of issues and they’ve been discriminated and vilified by other Australians,” Dr Lewis said.

He said while a decision on whether to ban gay marriage was not yet “locked in” at the election, he believed “people are waking up and waking up to the fact that we need to have some open conversation about marriage”.

“We are now in a situation where it is an election year, the government is trying to hold on to power, so I think it’s time to really start talking about this,” he said.

Dr Lewis was speaking ahead of the ABC’s election night broadcast on Monday night.

The Tasmanian Liberal senator said while the political environment was not conducive for marriage equality, he felt it was time for the board to “let people know” there was “a problem with a relationship that is not based on the traditional values of marriage”.

“It is a matter of fundamental fairness that Indigenous people should have a place in the family and in the community, and that there are things that we do to address this,” Dr Martin said.

“I think a decision that is made on whether or not to make a marriage law, or whether or no, that would be a matter that is left to the people to decide.”

The board was established by the NT Government in 1998 to protect the rights of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

The NT Government says it will not change its policies on marriage and adoption, but has promised to make its own decisions on how to handle the issue.

In February, the Government said it would “continue to seek clarification” from the ATSICB and said it hoped to have “final and complete answers” by the end of the year.

Topics:government-and-politics,marriage,government-institutions,marriage-and,marriage/relationships,australiaFirst posted November 04, 2019 13:40:47Contact Sarah GraftonMore stories from New South Wales