The phrase “Treaty Before Voice” has been seen on Invasion Day pamphlets across the country as activist groups nationwide prepare for a day of protesting on Thursday.
The sentiment will be displayed at protests in capital cities Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Hobart all taking the stance.
Campaign Manager for the Tasmanian Aboriginal council Nala Mansell is part of the organisation team for Hobart’s protest and says that the calls come after a long history of federal governments ignoring Indigenous advisory bodies.
“We’ve been advising governments on our rights for many decades now, and we’re still landless, (and) powerless,” she said.
Mansell says that a treaty would lead to a more equitable environment for Indigenous people, with voted in Indigenous representatives sitting in with parliamentary decision makers, making decisions for Indigenous communities.
Mansell continued to say that current plans for the constitutionally enshrined voice was too focused on the symbolic meaning rather than real progress.
“It’s all about the symbol it will show as opposed to any real action.”
Aside from discussions around the voice, rallies across the nation are set to be bigger than ever with Tasmania being no exception with thousands expected to gather in both the Hobart and Devonport demonstrations.
There is also evidence that governments are taking notice with Hobart announcing they will host their citizen ceremony on a separate day, showing that state governments and local councils are turning a more inclusive leaf.
On the topic of what day would better suit a celebration for Australia, Mansell said that adopting a similar approach to NZ’s national day, Waitangi Day which celebrated the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, would feel suitable.
“Let’s have a national treaty with Aboriginal people and use that date as the new day for celebration,”
Image Credit: Julian Meehan