Image: Lidia Thorpe and Sue Bolton  at the public forum in Melbourne (Socialist Alliance Facebook)

A long-standing Indigenous activist and Victorian Traditional Owner says all 38 First Nations in Victoria need to be involved in the state’s Treaty process.

Speaking via video link at a public forum on Treaty, Sovereignty, and First Nations justice in Melbourne on Monday night, Elder Gary Murray was joined by Gunnai, Gunditjmara, and Djab Wurrung senator Lidia Thorpe.

Uncle Gary condemned the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, the body overseeing Treaty negotiations with the State, as well co-chairs Marcus Stewart and Aunty Geraldine Atkinson for their lack of leadership, saying only 10 of the 38 Nations have a seat on the assembly.

The respected Elder of the Dja Dja Wurrung people, who quit a Treaty Working Group (consisting of sixteen Indigenous leaders and Traditional Owners) in October 2016, also questioned how an Indigenous Voice to Parliament could possibly represent all First Nations Clans across the country.

Uncle Gary Murray speaking at a Public Forum on Sovereignty, Treaty & First Nations Justice

Organised by Socialist Alliance & Green Left, the Sovereignty, Treaty & First Nations Justice Public Forum was held in-person at Drill Hall, Multicultural Hub in Melbourne on Monday night, February 20.

The event was moderated by Sue Bolton, Ballerrt Mooroop working group, Merri-bek councillor & Socialist Alliance, who said it was important to hear from Indigenous voices talking about Treaty and real change for First Nations people not just the narrow agenda put forward by governments, saying recent Invasion Day rallies have really opened up the public discussion.