Donna Wright

Aunty Donna Wright, Reserved Seat holder representing Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

Proud Kerrupmara of the Gunditjmara Nation and Kamilaroi

Aunty Donna Wright stood for election to the Assembly to represent her people, to support and ensure our Elders, Youth and communities’ voices are heard and we are truly self-determining throughout the Treaty journey.

“Our fight for justice continues, it is our peoples, our Elders, our community, children and young peoples’ right to not only fulfill their hopes and dreams for the future and have their say in the Treaty process in the South-West, but that every Gunditjmara person also has the opportunity to co-design the Elders’ Voice, a Truth-Telling process, Gunditjmara representation and how Gunditjmara people will negotiate a future Treaty with the State,” Aunty Donna explains.

“It’s important to empower Gunditjmara people to determine the Treaty process in the South-West, and have the time to discuss their aspirations for our children and young peoples’ future as a community and to realise and achieve our aspirations and vision for our people through a future Treaty.

“How our clans’ family groups put forward their aspirations and what they want to see happen through a Treaty is an important yarn to have and is only part of our journey towards healing for our people.”

Aunty Donna says when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, every Aboriginal community went into survival mode to ensure the protection of our Elders and communities, and that the safety and survival of our people were at the forefront of the Assembly’s thinking and influenced our work at the Assembly.

“We had to ensure a COVID-safe Treaty process was created for our people,” Aunty Donna says. “It was challenging and really difficult not being able to communicate with our Elders, communities and young people during a global pandemic,” she explains.

But, like our people have been doing for thousands of years, Aunty Donna says the Assembly’s Members focused on the cultural safety and empowerment of our people and managed some key achievements during its first term.

“Self-determination, cultural governance and embedding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into the Assembly’s work and organisational culture was and still is the most critical work the Members have undertaken, and the mandate for the way the Assembly operates as an Aboriginal organisation right now and into the future.

“Decolonising our constitution to bring about systemic and structural change is key to achieving this,” she says.

Aunty Donna has other goals for 2021 too, including the Assembly operating autonomously and as an Aboriginal organisation that continues to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Assembly’s work.

“Our Sovereignty has never been ceded, we are resilient and continue to fight for justice for our people, our Elders, our children and young people. It is their future and they have every right to determine what is best for them and what they want to see in a Treaty,” she concludes.

Inaugural speech