Lidia Thorpe - Speech in Parliament: My question is for the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. During our negotiations regarding the treaty legislation you supported our proposal to hold a statewide meeting where, for the first time in two years of consultation, clans, First Nations and traditional owner groups would be formally invited to have their say about treaty.
You stated that the Victorian treaty advancement commissioner will hold this meeting to ‘discuss the establishment of the Aboriginal Representative Body’. It is with deep disappointment that in our meeting with the commissioner she stated that at this statewide meeting she would present the model for the Aboriginal Representative Body but not to consult on it.
Minister, what will you do to ensure that the leaders of the first peoples of Victoria are publicly and collectively consulted on the Aboriginal Representative Body for treaty?
Minister, I cannot express strongly enough how disrespectful this will be — that elders and senior representatives of the first peoples would be asked to come from across Victoria only to be told to shut up and listen to what is going to happen by a government-appointed official. This flies in the face of self-determination, which is now enshrined in legislation as a guiding principle for the treaty process.
Instead of choosing the model based on advice from elders or leaders from the first peoples, the government has chosen to manufacture advice from a collection of hand-picked Aboriginal people for the pathway to treaty.
Why is the government taking every opportunity to disrespect our culture by not getting advice from a wide spectrum of clans and First Nations on representation of their peoples?