Bombers and Tigers help promote Treaty Elections

May 17, 2023

The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria is partnering with the Essendon and Richmond Football Clubs during the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round to help ensure all eligible mob in and from Victoria know they are invited to vote in the Treaty Elections.

Assembly co-chair and Bangerang and Wiradjuri Elder, Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, said the Dreamtime match is a great event and as this year it coincides with the Treaty Elections, it’s a perfect fit to have the teams helping to spread the word.

“Ours is the oldest living culture in the world and I just love seeing it shared and celebrated. The jumper designs are just deadly and of course I’m thrilled to see Treaty for Victoria getting a run this year at the Dreamtime game,” said Aunty Geraldine.

Essendon players will be wearing their support for Treaty on their match guernseys, while Richmond players, Marlion Pickett and Shai Bolton, have stepped up to be the face of social media ads encouraging mob to enrol and vote in the Treaty Elections

Both Marlion and Shai are eligible to vote in the Elections because they’ve lived in Victoria for more than three of the last five years. Although candidates in the Elections must be Traditional Owners of Country in Victoria, eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from interstate can vote in the Elections.

“We need all mob in or from Victoria to know they are welcome on the journey to Treaty. We need Aboriginal people to have their say and choose the people who will represent mob proudly in the upcoming Treaty negotiations. So if you’re over 16 years old, it’s time to step up and get involved,” said Aunty Geri.

Spectators at the MCG can expect to see Treaty pop up in a range of places on the night – from the banner prepared by the Richmond cheer squad to the Essendon Mascots.

Aunty Geraldine said she hoped the event would help bring more people into the shared journey to Treaty.

“This is an important time. For many generations our people have been fighting for Treaty – a chance to make sure we have the freedom and power to make the decisions that affect our lives. And now Treaty is very much within our reach, negotiations are going to start later this year,” said Aunty Geraldine.

All eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from or in Victoria are welcome to cast their votes to choose the people who will negotiate the first Treaty in Australia.

The Treaty Elections will take place from May 13 to June 3, 2023.

Leanne Brooke, Essendon Football Club’s Executive General Manager of Community, Indigenous Affairs and The Long Walk, added her personal sentiment, commenting that Treaty is extremely important because it puts self-determination and Aboriginal peoples and communities at the centre of decisions and policies that affect our everyday lives.  

“As a Gunditjmara and Keeray Wurrung woman living and working in Naarm, a process grounded in culture and lore and designed by Aboriginal people gives me hope and optimism that the First Peoples of Victoria will create a future where our mobs can make a real difference in our communities,” said Leanne.

Richmond’s Director of Indigenous Leadership, Angela Burt, said empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to have their say has been central to the work of the Richmond Football Club’s Korin Gamadji Institute.

“We are proud to support the Treaty process and encourage young mob to enrol to vote and have their say.”

To find out more about Treaty and these historic elections, head to