The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria – the democratic voice representing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the Victorian Treaty process – will submit its first round of evidence to the Yoorrook Justice Commission at a hearing today in Melbourne.
The Truth-telling process is a vital early step on the shared journey to Treaty with the Commission – which has the powers of a Royal Commission – investigating the historical and ongoing injustices experienced by First Peoples in Victoria since invasion.
The Assembly’s Co-Chair, proud Nira illim bulluk man of the Taungurung Nation, Marcus Stewart, who will answer questions put to him by the five Commissioners, said the Truth must be told and acknowledged for Treaty to be negotiated in good faith.
“The shadow of colonisation follows Aboriginal people everywhere we go. Although piecemeal reforms can let shards of light into our lives, we need complete systemic reform to ensure we have the freedom and power to make the decisions that affect our communities, our culture and our Country. Treaty is the opportunity to deliver that. Until then, this place will just remain the colony of Victoria,” said Mr Stewart.
Assembly Co-Chair, Bangerang and Wiradjuri Elder, Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, said the Truth-telling process will be hard going and Assembly Members want to thank everyone coming forward to share their stories.
“The Truth-telling process will uncover so many tales of heartbreak, but when you join the dots, a picture unfolds of deliberate and persistent attempts to wipe out our people and culture over centuries. Our experiences are woven together, and so the solutions and way to heal must also be worked through together. The Assembly’s job will be to help identify the common factors and craft the necessary systemic reforms through Treaty,” said Aunty Geri.
The hearing will be livestreamed via the Yoorrook Justice Commission’s website here.
Tom Clarke | M: 0422 545 763 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org