Nartarsha Bamblett

Nartarsha Bamblett, Member for the North East region

Proud Yorta Yorta, Gunai Kurnai, Walpiri and Wiradjeri

There’s a line from Nartarsha Bamblett’s speech at the Assembly’s first meeting in Parliament House in December 2019 that sums up her connection to her Country.

“I stand in a room with my feet bare on the floors that I feel no connection to, but deep within the grounds that lay beneath, I can feel the roots of who it is I am, connected deep within.”

With cultural ties to communities in north, east and southern Victoria, and even Central Australia, Ms Bamblett has many roots connected to the land, but she also understands the fragility that Australia’s colonial past has built into the system.

“I stand with my father supporting me, and I acknowledge the challenges of him, my mother and the future generations and the generations before me and the lines of where my father has come from, of Stolen Generation and the challenges that they face, the fears and uncertainty that we surround ourselves with today as Aboriginal people, men and women,” she told the inaugural meeting.

She says the Treaty process is something that can help protect those connections for Aboriginal people in Victoria.

“I wanted to stand for the Assembly to make sure that future generations will have a better opportunity to be connected to their culture, that their links will be preserved and future generations will be proud of who they are and where they’re from.”

“I come from a cycle of life known for power, unity, connection, healing and respect from many generations before me and I plan to continue these strengths while also changing the cycles of trauma that have impacted us the way, for the better of the generations to come after me.”

She says it was difficult being prevented from visiting family and friends due to COVID and having to move the Assembly’s consultations online, but the reward was some real progress towards Treaty in a number of areas.

“The next 12 months, we’ll see progress on the Framework, Treaty Authority and Self-Determination Fund,” she says. “But one of the most important things for me is the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission that will bring a truth to non-Indigenous people they may not be ready for.

“I urge you to not only listen, but to walk together on the journey to healing.”

Her message for Aboriginal people is to give the Treaty process time, but “to get involved with the opportunity and have your voice be heard”.

Inaugural speech