Results from Victoria’s Treaty Elections will be announced this weekend following the official vote count to take place on Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Country at the Collingwood office of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.
Outgoing Assembly Co-Chair, proud Nira illim bulluk man of the Taungurung Nation, Marcus Stewart, said the Treaty Elections were about making sure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria could be part of the journey to Treaty.
“Mob right across Victoria have cast their votes. Now we get to find out who they have chosen to get Treaty done. These next Assembly Members will be the people who sit down with the Victorian Government and start negotiating a Treaty to put decision-making power back into Aboriginal hands,” said Marcus.
Friday at 6pm is the deadline for any final postal votes to arrive and the official count will begin at 10am on Saturday.
“This is a truly historic milestone for self-determination. I want to thank everyone who voted in the Treaty Elections and I also want to remind the people that didn’t enrol yet, that our door is always open. We want all mob to know they can be part of this journey and there are many opportunities to help. Last year the Assembly hosted over 360 Community events and had more than 23,000 conversations with mob right across the state,” said Marcus.
The Assembly and the independent election provider are anticipating there will be over 4,200 votes to count and results for most, if not all regions, should be known by the end of the day. However, the count may need to continue on Sunday morning.
“To have a clear majority of enrolled people come out and participate in a voluntary vote is very encouraging. We have a strong base of community members with a vision for how they want Treaty to improve the lives of our people and with a passion to make it a reality. I’m very confident the Assembly will continue to grow our electoral role for each election, particularly with all the deadly young mob coming up,” said Marcus.
The Assembly has more than tripled its electoral roll since its first election in 2019 – with now more than 7,000 people able to have their say in Assembly Elections.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from interstate must have lived in Victoria for more than three of the last five years to be eligible to vote in Assembly Elections.
Traditional Owner groups are also in the process of electing their representatives for the Assembly’s reserved seats and the new group of Assembly Members will gather for the first time at a meeting in July.
In its first term, the Assembly focused on how Treaty will be negotiated – establishing the foundations, supports and processes needed for Treaty-making. In the upcoming term, the new group of Assembly Members will negotiate a statewide Treaty to tackle the big overarching statewide issues like improving health, education, and justice.
The Assembly will also help empower the diverse Traditional Owner groups in Victoria to negotiate Treaties in their areas that reflect their specific aspirations and priorities.