National Sorry Day is an Australia-wide observance held on May 26 each year when the Bringing Them Home Report was tabled in the Federal Parliament. This day gives people the chance to come together and share the steps towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities. A Sorry Day observance will be held at Monash Park Shepparton, on Monday, May 27, 2019 commencing at 10:15am
Sorry Day is now commemorated nationally with thousands of Australians from all walks of life participating in gatherings to commemorate and remember all those who have been impacted by the government policies of forcible removal. It was these policies that resulted in the Stolen Generations
Sorry Day Flag Raising, Commemoration and Commemorative Walk
Monday, May 27, 2019
Time: 10.15am Gather Monash Park Rose Garden (next to Senior Citizens Clubrooms)
10.30 – 11.15am Sorry Day Commemoration
11.15 – 11.45am Commemorative Walk along Fryers St to the murals of Uncle Doug Nicholls, Uncle William Cooper, Aunty Marge Tucker and Nanny Nora Charles
Enquiries: Bobby 0434 279 653 | Dierdre 5821 6600 Sorry Day Sunset
Sunset Ceremony at La Trobe University
Monday, May 27, 2019
Time: 5.00pm Cnr North and Stewart Streets (at the flagpoles) La Trobe University
Please wear warm clothes as we will be outside
Enquiries: Mishel McMahon 0428 389 582 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Treaty Process
As Sophia Sambono from the National Film and Sound Archive writes, Treaty was “a protest song declaiming the failure of Australia’s political leaders to fulfil the promise of a treaty between black and white Australians.”
Whilst there is still no treaty in Australia on a national level, here in Victoria, Treaty is very much on the agenda and much has been happening.
In February 2016, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews committed the Government to discussing Treaty. Forums and community consultations were held across the state during 2016 and 2017.
The appointment of Gunditjmara woman, Jill Gallagher AO, as the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner was the next step. The Commissioner and the newly created Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission have been working with Traditional Owners, Elders, Aboriginal organisations and young people to establish a democratically elected Aboriginal Representative Body.
On June 21, 2018, the Victorian Parliament passed Australia’s first treaty bill, setting up a path for the government to one day negotiate and conclude agreements with Aboriginal people. The Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Bill 2018 allows for the creation of this representative body, to be elected by Aboriginal Victorians, the role of which will be to help design the treaty negotiation framework.
Consistent with the policy of self-determination, the Bill does not specify who Treaty is with or what it will be about. Rather it requires an independent Aboriginal Representative Body and the Victorian Government to work in partnership to facilitate future treaty negotiations.
The name decided upon for this independent organisation that will support Aboriginal communities to negotiate treaty is the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.
“Aboriginal Representative Body was a temporary name,” said the Treaty Advancement Commissioner, Jill Gallagher
“The Assembly will be powerful, independent and culturally strong. It will bring our people together for a common cause. We feel the name reflects this,” she said.
The process to set it up will include an election, mid-year, at which those in the Victorian Aboriginal community, aged 16 and over, will elect Victorian Traditional Owners to sit on the Assembly.
The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, to be set up later in 2019, will be the voice of Aboriginal people in Victoria in the future treaty process. It will be independent of government.
It will be made up of 33 Traditional Owners: 21 elected by Aboriginal people in Victoria and Victorian Traditional Owners living outside the state and 12 from formally recognised Traditional Owner groups.
It will not negotiate a treaty.
Instead, it will work with the State of Victoria to prepare for treaty negotiations.
This will include the establishment of:
- A Treaty Authority – an ‘independent umpire’ in the negotiation process;
- A negotiation framework – this will set out ‘ground rules’, for example, what is on and off the negotiating table, and who can negotiate;
- A self-determination fund – this will support Aboriginal communities to be on an even playing field with government when treaties are being negotiated
Elders will ensure the Assembly is culturally accountable to the Victorian Aboriginal community.
“Treaty requires government to sit down and engage with Aboriginal people as equals – not as a problem to be managed, or as stakeholders to be consulted once and then ignored. Aboriginal communities will be able to tell government what they need to build better lives for themselves and their children, and government will be able to respond. There will be a process of give and take, as there is in any negotiation. But it is precisely this sense of mutual obligation that is indispensable for real reconciliation.” said Jill Gallagher.
Treaty’s lyrics continue:
This land was never bought and sold
The planting of the union jack
Never changed our law at all
Now two rivers run their course
Separated for so long
I’m dreaming of a brighter day
When the waters will be one
Aboriginal people have never wavered in their call for treaty/ies as a recognition of their ancient sovereignty. What has changed is that non-Aboriginal people in this country have started to hear the call, and answer it.
Treaty yeah, Treaty now, Treaty yeah, Treaty now …
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