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With first speech, Senator Thorpe puts Treaty back on the national agenda

Media Release
Lidia Thorpe 2 Dec 2020

 

In her first speech to the Senate, Greens Senator for Victoria Lidia Thorpe will bring Aboriginal people’s calls for Treaty to the national parliament. 

“To truly bring this country together, we must not only treat the symptoms of disadvantage, but the cause. We do this with a Treaty,” Senator Thorpe said today.

“First Nations people have long called for a Treaty to be negotiated in this country. In taking my seat as a Senator, I’m bringing those voices to this Parliament.

“This Parliament can’t look away any longer. I’m here to make sure the conversation about Treaty is finally had in this place, so that we can put the past behind us and move forward together as a nation.

“This land was not ‘Terra Nullius’ when white colonisers arrived. Our First Nations People have lived here since time immemorial.

“A national Treaty would make clear that we, the First Nations Peoples of these Lands, deserve to have our rights, our knowledge, and our Sovereignty respected. It would acknowledge the truth of our past, and bring us together to heal as a nation.  

“If we write it together, it can be the means to tell the story of who we want to be as a country, creating a national identity that celebrates what unites us, protects the rights of First Nations people and acknowledges the injustices, both past and present. We cannot change the past, but we can build a better future and that starts with bringing people together,” Senator Thorpe added.

Background

Australia lags behind other Commonwealth countries in failing to pursue a Treaty process with its First Nations Peoples.

As a signatory to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Australian Government has committed, in international law, to “respect and promote the rights of Indigenous peoples” through a Treaty process. 

The Federal Government also lags behind a number of states and territories, including Victoria, South Australia and the ACT, who have sought to develop treaty processes, with mixed success to date.

Senator Thorpe today also reaffirmed the Greens’ view that the development of a national process for Treaty, or treaties, should come before constitutional recognition, or changing the date of Australia Day.

Statement ends

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