Treaties and truth telling
First Nations people have a right to justice and to determine their own futures
Australia is the only Commonwealth country without a treaty with its First Peoples. We cannot let this injustice continue. The Greens have joined Aboriginal activists calling for truth-telling and treaties, and Greens First Nations Members of Parliament have led the way on this journey.
In Victoria, we have taken important steps towards justice and healing for First Nations people by beginning the Treaty process and embarking on truth-telling with the Yoorrook Justice Commission. But to support full self-determination, we must do more to empower all Nations to begin Treaty negotiations and to ensure treaties truly deliver peace, justice, rights and healing for the First Peoples of this land.
All First Nations in Victoria must be resourced to participate equally in Treaty.
The Greens' plan includes:
- Advocating for a Self-Determination Fund that ensures all Traditional Owner groups are on a level playing field with the government in Treaty negotiations.
- An additional $1.5 million for additional salary for the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria members so they can fully participate in the work.
- Protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage with a $1 billion land buyback fund and strengthening self-determination rights in our laws.
- Consulting on establishing healing places for all Nations.
Justice for first nations
Black Lives Matter
Victoria allows 10 year olds to go to prison. First Nations people are still dying in custody. Under the current Labor Government, rates of imprisonment of First Nations people have risen to unprecedented levels.
Victorian Aboriginal children aged between 10 and 17 are around 10 times more likely to be in detention than non-Aboriginal children. This overrepresentation continues across generations, creating cycles of disadvantage and increasing the rates of imprisonment in adulthood.
The Victorian government has built a discriminatory justice system that punishes and jails the most vulnerable people, for no reason other than their social and economic disadvantage or the colour of their skin.
Report after report has been written highlighting this, but few acted on.
In 2020 the world said Black Lives Matter and enough is enough.
Our government must stop ignoring calls from First Nations people and advocates for justice reform and invest in Aboriginal community-led solutions.
First Nations communities are demanding our government raise the age of criminal responsibility, fix our broken bail laws and stop Aboriginal kids being taken away.
The Greens plan includes:
- No longer locking up primary school aged children, by raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years, as recommended by medical experts, the UN and First Nations Communities.
- Reducing deaths in custody by changing our bail laws so they stop disproportionately locking up First Nations people for minor offences – like women caught shoplifting.
- Ending mandatory sentencing.
- Independently monitoring police and prisons to address racism and discrimination and stop mistreatment of prisoners.
- Provide an additional $24.5 million to the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service to ensure First Nations people have proper legal representation.
- Creating an independent commissioner to monitor progress on implementation of recommendations of both the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and coronial inquests.
Protecting Aboriginal Cultural Heritage
This country is home to 65,000 years of First Nations culture, history & heritage
First Nations people have lived on Country in what we now call Victoria for tens of thousands of years. Across the land, there are many significant sacred cultural sites for First Nations, like the sacred Djab Wurrung birthing trees, or Gariwerd. But our current laws are failing to protect these sites from desecration and destruction, and are not protecting First Nations lore and culture.
Too many precious sites, like the Sacred Eel, are now on privately owned land and at risk of destruction.
The Greens plan includes:
- A $1bn private land buyback fund to return sacred sites to First Nations communities.
- Rights for First Nations to veto destructive developments, such as mines and highways, that threaten sites of high cultural significance.
- Strengthening cultural heritage protection laws with self-determination rights, so that Traditional Owners are the decision makers over developments and issues that affect their communities, their heritage and land.
- Deepening teaching and respect of First Nations cultural heritage and language by introducing more First Nations cultural education, including languages, into the Victorian school curriculum. Also ensuring that over time, in consultation with Traditional Owners and local communities, the names, monuments, symbols, celebrations and histories told about our communities better reflect and respect First Nations culture.
Caring for Country
First Nations people have been caring for this land for tens of thousands of years
Colonial settlement has irreversibly changed our natural landscape. Decades of Western agricultural and industrial development has resulted in cleared forests, erosion, increased bushfire risk and ecosystems decline.
Country is sacred for First Nations people. We need to learn from First Nations people how to properly care for Country.
The Greens plan includes:
- Ending native forest logging and stopping extinction, including of totem animals.
- Supporting Traditional Owner Management of National and State Parks as well more Country owned directly by Traditional Owner groups.
- A dedicated First Nations Ranger training and employment program to bring Traditional Owner cultural knowledge to caring for Country.
- An $18 million fund to ensure First Nations people receive payment so they have increased capacity to participate in environmental consultation processes.
- Strengthening First Nations water, aquifer and ocean rights and limit how much water we take out of our rivers, so there’s still enough to maintain the cultural practices which keep First Nations people and their Country strong.
HOW WE'LL PAY FOR OUR POLICIES
- Making big corporations pay their fair share
The Greens will make the big banks, property developers and the gambling industry pay their fair share of tax so we can invest in climate action, affordable housing and public services for all.
Our plans will also be paid for by spending smarter and making our state borrowings work for the community.
Together, we’re powerful.
With more Greens in parliament, we can tackle the climate crisis, make housing affordable and hold the major parties to account. Your vote is powerful.