Voting in Victoria’s Treaty Elections opens today and will run until 3 June, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from and in Victoria able to vote for who will represent them in Treaty negotiations with the Victorian Government.
Successful candidates will be elected to the second term of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, the democratically elected ‘voice’ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the state that is responsible for leading the journey to Treaty.
Outgoing Assembly Co-Chair and respected Bangerang and Wiradjuri Elder, Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, will be among the first people to cast their vote in the Treaty Elections at a special event in Collingwood on Saturday morning, 13 May.
“Today we begin the next big step towards Treaty with First Peoples right across the state starting to cast their votes in the Assembly elections. The strength and determination of our people since invasion has led us to this moment. Treaty will soon be a reality.”Aunty Geraldine Atkinson
“Aboriginal people are the experts on our own lives, we know what we need to create a better future for our people. Treaty is about restoring our freedom and power to make the decisions that affect us.
“But what issues Treaty covers, how strong it will be, depends on mob getting involved in these elections. So I want to make sure that all Aboriginal people know they are welcome to be part of this amazing moment – whether you are from Victoria or living here, we want everyone to have their say. Your vote matters.Aunty Geraldine Atkinson
“These elections are our opportunity to choose who will be sitting across from government when Treaty negotiations begin later this year.”
Seventy-four Traditional Owners of Country in Victoria are standing as candidates in the election.
Alongside statewide Treaty negotiations that could cover over-arching issues like creating jobs, improving education and healthcare and justice reform, the Assembly will also empower Traditional Owner groups to negotiate Treaties that reflect priorities specific to their areas.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be able to vote in the elections in person, online or through the post.
The final day of voting in the elections, 3 June, will be marked with Treaty Day Out Naarm, a concert featuring a line-up of all First Nations artists including Yothu Yindi, Jessica Mauboy and Thelma Plum. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people enrolled with the Assembly get free entry to the concert and friends and allies are welcome. Tickets are on sale now at www.TreatyDayOut.com.
Learn more about your local candidates and how to enrol and vote in the Assembly Elections at www.TreatyElections.org.
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