Assembly Update — July 2021

Happy NAIDOC Week! This week we’re celebrating our collective excellence, resistance and survival as custodians of the world’s oldest living cultures.

This year’s theme, Heal Country! speaks to our inherent rights and responsibilities as First Peoples to care for our lands, waters and sacred sites. It also acknowledges the past and ongoing injustices that continue to create barriers for Traditional Owners to manage and care for Country.

We believe that Treaties are a powerful way to address these injustices and activate our inherent rights to protect and heal Country and strengthen our communities.

On that note — we have lots of exciting news and updates in the Treaty space that we can’t wait to share with you in this newsletter. We’d like to thank you for being part of this historic journey with us, and we hope you have a deadly NAIDOC Week!

Ngun godjin (regards),

Geraldine Atkinson and Marcus Stewart

Co-Chairs First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria

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Heal Country! NAIDOC Yarn — 7:30pm Thursday 8 July

To celebrate NAIDOC Week, join Assembly Members Alice Pepper and Matt Burns as they yarn about this year’s theme, Heal Country! and the role that Treaties will play in addressing existing barriers and activating our inherent rights as First Peoples to heal and care for Country.

This event will stream from 7:30pm Thursday 8 July on our Facebook page and website.

We hope you can tune in for this exciting yarn!


Introducing the Interim Elders’ Voice

Interim Elders’ Voice Co-Chairs: Aunty Charmaine Clarke and Uncle Andrew Gardiner

The Elders’ Voice will guide our journey to Treaties and provide cultural oversight to the work of the Assembly, ensuring that Elders are at the heart of a culturally strong Treaty process.

The Assembly has established an Interim Elders’ Voice to develop the foundations for our permanent Elders Voice — making sure we have Elders leading the way with true self-determination.

We are proud to announce that Assembly Members Aunty Charmaine Clarke and Uncle Andrew Gardiner will Co-Chair the Interim Elders’ Voice. In the coming months, the Co-Chairs will travel across the state, meeting with Elders to design the structure, roles and responsibilities of our permanent Elders’ Voice — driven by their self-determination, their way.

We want to hear from you, our Elders! To find out more about the Interim Elders’ Voice and stay up to date with details as they are announced, click on the button below.


Assembly Engagement Materials

We want our communities to claim self-determination and political power through Treaties and we are working to achieve this through the Treaty Negotiation Framework.

We have developed this pack of Engagement Materials to help give you background on what we’ve done so far and explain our thinking on State-wide Treaty and Traditional Owner Treaties. We want to hear your ideas so the decisions we make represent all of our community!

You can view the Engagement Materials and have your say via the button below.


Assembly calls for a new public holiday during NAIDOC week

This NAIDOC week we called on the State Government to declare a new public holiday for all Victorians on the Friday of NAIDOC Week, the day of the NAIDOC March, where our people and allies gather together in pride and unity.

NAIDOC Week is an annual occasion of remembrance and resistance that has evolved into a national celebration of our community, cultures and Country. As the Week nears its 50th birthday, it is surely time to recognise a more positive national day to celebrate and honour our First Peoples, for all Australians.

You can read more in our Media Statement that we released on Monday.


Opportunities at the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission

Pictured: Yoo-rrook Justice Commission Chair Prof. Eleanor Bourke and Commissioners Prof. the Hon. Kevin Bell QC AM, DP Maggie Walter, Dr Wayne Atkinson, and Sue-Anne Hunter.

Following generations of activism, calls from our community and advocacy from the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, it’s exciting to see work is getting underway at the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission — the first and only formal truth-telling process to examine past and ongoing injustices against First Peoples in Victoria since the beginning of colonisation.

Yoo-rrook is now seeking Expressions of Interest from those with expertise related to the broad subject matter of Yoo-rrook, to serve as members of their Expert Advisory Committee. Expressions of Interest close Thursday 22 July.


The Commission is also recruiting for a number of roles, including Strategic Adviser, Director of Human Resources, Director of Operations and Executive Assistants.

This is an exciting opportunity to be part of history and work towards a better and more just future for all people of Victoria. Follow Yoo-rrook Justice Commission’s journey via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


Assembly Member Feature: Trevor Gallagher

Introducing Assembly Member for the Metropolitan Region – Trevor Gallagher, a proud Gunditjmara man.

Trevor has worked in Aboriginal community services for close to thirty years. He is a proud father of four and is passionate about educating people about his culture.

Trevor has been through hardship and pain in his life, but his story is also one of reconciliation where he has learnt to forgive but never forget what has happened to his family over the journey. He became an Assembly Member to play a part in making history and achieving the first ever Treaty for our people.

“I wanted to run and be a part of history so my kids and grandkids can say my dad was a very significant part of Aboriginal history.”


We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Victoria and pay our respect to them, their culture and their Elders past, present and future.