Aboriginal Affairs

The Tasmanian Greens recognise that the palawa pakana people had prior occupation of lutruwita, the land now known as Tasmania, for tens of thousands of years prior to the arrival of the first Europeans.

The Tasmanian Greens recognise that the palawa pakana people had prior occupation of lutruwita, the land now known as Tasmania, for tens of thousands of years prior to the arrival of the first Europeans. We acknowledge that Tasmania’s First People were dispossessed of their land following its invasion by the British in 1803. We express deep sorrow for this violent dispossession and the profound impact it has had on a proud people over many generations since. We recognise that reparation for the wrongs of the past and to this day, has not yet been realised.

The Tasmanian Greens believe that the present generation of Tasmanians has a responsibility to continue to address the injustices that endure today. We recognise that genuine reconciliation must be founded on the establishment of true social justice.

We recognise and respect the close connection between the land, or ‘country’ and Aboriginal cultural identity. We recognise that restitution will primarily be achieved through the further return of land of spiritual, cultural, historical and economic significance to the palawa pakana of Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Greens recognise that true reconciliation requires addressing all continuing inequities relating to health, education, housing, the justice system, the economy and self-determination. Comprehensive action on every issue affecting our indigenous people can only be formulated with the direct participation and shared leadership of Aboriginal communities in perpetuity.

Measures

Law

The Tasmanian Greens will work towards:

  1. engaging openly and constructively with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Tasmanians to formalise the signing of a Treaty with Tasmania’s First People that acknowledges the wrongs of the past and commits to tangible acts of reconciliation;

  2. returning to the Aboriginal community further land which is of spiritual, cultural, and economic significance;

  3. in consultation with the palawa pakana, enacting updated heritage protection legislation to replace the Aboriginal Relics Act 1975, empowering Aboriginal peoples to manage their cultural materials and provide resources to protect heritage, including enforcement and prosecutions relating to site damage.

Cultural Identity

The Tasmanian Greens will work towards:

  1. recognising ownership of cultural property on land and within institutions, and ensuring Aboriginal control and management of that cultural property to the greatest extent possible;

  2. supporting the continued adoption of the Dual Naming Policy for Tasmania for culturally significant geographic features and locations;

  3. supporting Aboriginal people in legally pursuing cultural activities based on hunting and gathering;

  4. buying back abalone and crayfish quotas for Aboriginal community use;

  5. maintaining courses on Aboriginal history and culture as core subjects in Tasmanian schools;

  6. supporting the creation of new opportunities for economic and cultural development within Tasmania's Aboriginal community with a particular emphasis on sustainable cultural tourism development.

Social Justice

The Tasmanian Greens will work towards:

  1. working with the Aboriginal communities to identify research priorities to better understand and address the changing needs of Tasmanian Aboriginal people in the areas of health, education, housing, employment, family support and violence prevention, and promote young women’s leadership programs and opportunities;

  2. affirming the right of Aboriginal people to be involved in the management of the delivery of their health and education services;

  3. encouraging all sectors of the community, including the conservation movement, the farming community, the tourism sector, developers and others consult and work with the Aboriginal community in an integrated and holistic manner.

Administration

The Tasmanian Greens will work towards:

  1. maintaining a dedicated unit within the Department of Premier and Cabinet to ensure social justice principles are employed by all government departments in policy formulation and service provision, with special reference to the needs and interests of Aboriginal peoples;

  2. assisting Aboriginal communities in managing those areas of land returned to the community, with the administration of any public funding to be based on the principle of self-determination;

  3. supporting Aboriginal families who suffered severe dislocation due to past government policies, and ensure that future government policy does not have the effect of separating Aboriginal families;

  4. ensuring full implementation of the recommendations of the Report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody;

  5. supporting the Aboriginal communities' offender treatment programs.

The full policy is available for download below.