Jason Kelly, Member for the North West region
Proud Mutthi Mutthi and Wamba Wamba
Jason Kelly says he was unsure of standing as a candidate for the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria until something made it clear to him that he should.
“Whilst I was privately considering the possibility of standing for Assembly it was my Wamba Wamba Elders who requested I do so,” he says. “Being requested to do so by one’s Elders is an honour in itself.”
Mr Kelly says his work as an Assembly Member is always guided by his culture.
“My first day as an Assembly Member saw me standing in Lore and going to Corranderk, with the blessing of Wurundjeri Elders, to pay respects to Barrack’s grave and all others who rest there,” he says.
“It was more important for myself to do this rather than attend Assembly at the Victorian Parliament. Cultural protocols and Lore will always come first as we navigate through this process of establishing the Framework from which Treaty will be negotiated.”
Mr Kelly is particularly pleased about the role he played in putting the motion that pre-empted the Assembly’s successful lobbying of the Government for the creation of a Truth-Telling commission, an important step forward on the journey to Treaty.
“Truth-Telling is not a new demand from our people, but I am proud to be the person who campaigned and presented the resolution to the Assembly Chamber,” he says.
Mr Kelly says the substance of Treaty has many aspects to it.
“For me, Treaty isn’t about the document or even the word Treaty. It is about ensuring our Cultural and Economic Rights, our right to co-exist and ensuring Truth-Telling. My campaign slogan was Treaty MUST PAY THE RENT and I still believe that self-determination can only come from the pay the rent model,” he explains.
He’s looking forward to engaging with Elders and rural communities through public gatherings again.
“Treaty has given you an opportunity for peace and justice, you can help create a better future for us all.”
Mr Kelly is also urging the Aboriginal Community to back themselves to find a path to a better place.
“You don’t have to trust the process, trust the mob,” he says. “Stand up together, stand in Lore to ensure Treaty delivers Justice. The power is with mob not Assembly.”