Greens to introduce Bill for Truth and Justice Commission


Following the failure of the 2023 Voice to Parliament Referendum, the Greens will introduce a Bill to establish a Truth and Justice Commission in the next sitting week.

The Commission will be empowered to inquire into particular matters relating to historic and ongoing injustices against First Peoples in Australia and the impacts of these injustices on First Peoples, and make recommendations to parliament.

The Albanese Labor Government committed to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart “in full” before the election and on election night in May 2022, as well as during the Voice campaign. The Uluru Statement from the Heart includes three components: Truth, Treaty and Voice.

With 65,000 years of culture, country, connection and languages Australia’s First peoples are still waiting for the delivery of justice.

The Commission will investigate:

  1. Historical systemic injustices perpetrated by the Commonwealth government, Commonwealth government bodies and non-government bodies against First Peoples since pre colonial times.
  2. Ongoing systemic injustice perpetrated by the Commonwealth Government, Commonwealth bodies and non-government bodies.
  3. The causes and consequences of historical injustice, including a historical analysis of the impact of colonisation and an evaluation of the contemporary relationship between First Peoples and the Commonwealth Government and the impact of contemporary policies, practices, conduct and laws on First Peoples.
  4. How historical injustice can be effectively and fairly acknowledged and redressed in a culturally appropriate way.
  5. How ongoing injustice can be addressed or redressed, including recommended reform to existing institutions, law, policy and practice and considering how the Commonwealth Government can be held accountable for addressing these injustices and preventing future injustice.
  6. How best to raise awareness and increase public understanding of the history and experiences of First Peoples before and since the start of colonisation.

The Commission will submit to the President and the Speaker a report containing its findings of fact and any recommendations relevant to the inquiry that the Commission thinks fit. The report must be submitted on or before the end of the period of four years starting on the commencement of the Commission’s work, unless that period is extended by a resolution of the Senate.

Comments attributable to Greens portfolio holder for First Nations, Resources, Trade, Tourism and Northern Australia, and Yamatji Noongar woman, Senator Dorinda Cox:

“We have been waiting for the opportunity to not just tell our truths, but to have Australia deeply listen to our experiences, past and present as the oldest living culture in the world, Australia’s First Peoples.

“I know as a proud First Nations woman, with lineage to my Irish and French ancestry - we are a diverse and multicultural nation. We are now in the third chapter of our story, but missed the opportunity to understand and enshrine the experiences of First Peoples and our shared and interconnected past.

“We want Australians to know that in this process we will begin to heal as a nation,  we will understand that the work that we do now must be grounded in our self determination to chart our pathway forward to achieve better outcomes for First Nations people, communities and our collective futures.”

Comments attributable to Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP:

“Telling the truth is a critical first step to healing and bringing our country together.

“We must tell the truth about the violence and dispossession in this country’s history if we want to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. First Nations people have called for a Truth and Justice Commission to achieve that truth-telling.

“The misinformation peddled during the referendum campaign showed the urgent need for a deeper discussion about the truth of our country’s history. Since the referendum, which left a lot of people hurting, Labor has failed to offer any pathway forward.

The Greens are proud to introduce this Bill for a Truth and Justice Commission to begin the healing process of truth-telling for First Nations people and the broader community.”

Comment attributable to Greens spokesperson for Attorney General Senator David Shoebridge:

"Justice for First Nations Peoples needs a solid foundation of truth, and a Truth Commission could help deliver that essential and missing element.

"The full extent of the injustices faced by First Nations peoples, together with their deep rooted strengths, are truths the community must hear then respond to.

"Truth telling commissions around the world have been extraordinarily effective ways to empower communities in telling their stories, and create commitment for much-needed change."