PM invited to hear lessons from Victorian journey to Treaty

Aug 1, 2022

The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria – the democratic voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria’s Treaty process – has welcomed the Prime Minister’s renewed commitment at the Garma Festival in the Northern Territory to pursuing all elements of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Assembly Co-chair, proud Nira illim bulluk man of the Taungurung Nation, Marcus Stewart, said he will write to invite the Prime Minister to meet with Assembly Members to hear about the lessons being learned from the journey towards Treaty in Victoria.

“We’re making history here in Victoria. Our people have a voice in the Assembly, we have truth-telling underway with the Yoorrook Justice Commission, we’ve designed and agreed on a Treaty umpire, and now Treaty is very much within our reach,” said Mr Stewart.

Mr Stewart said the Victorian experience offered many lessons relevant for the national push for Voice, Treaty, Truth.

“We’ve been really clear from the beginning that we wont be rushed and that’s really paying off now as we’ve managed to make sure the consensus is built from the ground up. The Assembly’s elected Members might be the builders, but it’s Community that are our architects,” said Mr Stewart.

Assembly Co-chair, Bangerang and Wiradjuri Elder, Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, said she was also encouraged by the Prime Minster’s words and willingness to embrace First Peoples’ culture.

“Ours is the oldest living culture in the world. It’s beautiful and has so much wisdom and we want to share and celebrate that with everyone. All we are asking in return through Treaty, is for our people to have the freedom and power to make the decisions that affect our communities and our land,” said Aunty Geraldine.

Legislation to facilitate the creation of the Treaty Authority – the independent umpire that will oversee Treaty negotiations – is currently before the Victorian Parliament and has the backing of the Labor, Greens, Liberal and National parties so is anticipated to become law in coming weeks.

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