NSWALC Chief Executive Yuseph Deen. Image: NSWALC.
The defeat of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the referendum last month has some states rethinking their commitments to Treaties with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Queensland’s Liberal National Party says it would no longer support the state’s Path to Treaty, after all 34 of its MPs supported the legislation in Parliament just five months earlier.
The opposition leader, David Crisafulli, said the LNP would not pursue a Treaty if elected next October after nearly 70% of eligible QLD voters rejected to enshrine an Indigenous advisory body in the October 14 referendum.
“In the days since the referendum as I have travelled throughout the state it has become clear to me the path to treaty will only create further division,” he wrote in a statement.
QLD’s Palaszczuk government remains committed to the Path to Treaty but there are fears the loss of bipartisan support could prove difficult for the longevity of the state’s Treaty and Truth-Telling process.
In New South Wales, the Labor Government hopes to set up an independent Treaty commission to guide preliminary consultations with Indigenous people by mid-2024.
While the state’s Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty Minister, David Harris wants some form of Treaty pathway in place before the next state election in 2027 – should consultations recommend Treaty as the way forward.
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council CEO, Yuseph Deen, says any Treaty process in New South Wales would need to be led by First Nations people
“NSWALC has long supported the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Treaty, and Makarrata – Truth-Telling,” Mr Deen told NIRS News.
“We have strong established key principles for a Treaty process. They include that any Treaty needs to genuinely advance Aboriginal peoples rights and interests, is inclusive, accountable and responsive to the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, and protects existing rights and gains made by Aboriginal people. For instance Aboriginal land claims and Aboriginal land agreements made under the Land Rights Act.
“The NSW government has committed to consultation and a pathway to Treaty. Any pathway must be led by Aboriginal people, partner with representative Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, and be bi-partisan and a genuine partnership between Parliament and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“t’s also important to build broad-based support. Everyone saw how divisive the Voice debate became, we don’t need anymore hate or fear dividing our communities again.”