The treaty process has entered its next exciting stage – the election to establish the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria (the Assembly). Over 30 Victorian Traditional Owners have already put their hand up to stand as a candidate in the election. With 11 days until candidate nominations close on 16 August, you still have time to put your hand up and to be part of history.
The Assembly that we are building reflects the aspirations of the Aboriginal community in Victoria over many generations. We cannot wait any longer. The historic election that will take place in September and October this year enshrines the struggle of our ancestors, strengthens our community and enables us to express our inherent right to self-determination.
The Assembly will be powerful, independent, culturally-strong and will not leave anyone behind. The Aboriginal community has led the design of the Assembly and it has taken just over 3 years to design it. It will be totally independent from government. It will act as our democratically elected, representative and accountable voice in the treaty process. Importantly, the Assembly enshrines our fundamental rights expressed through the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including recognising existing structures that Aboriginal Victorians choose to organise.
There have been immense challenges in designing the Assembly, as there are multiple views and opinions on the preferred model, and that’s okay, but we also had to ensure that the model would work in 2019.
We want to take this opportunity to encourage Aboriginal Victorians to participate. The opportunities treaties offer us and everyone in Victoria are immense - if we grasp this historic moment before us. Treaties can be the ultimate recognition of our sovereignty, economic empowerment and the strengthening of our cultures.
We are grateful to everyone that has supported us so far on this journey towards treaties. We especially want to thank our community-controlled organisations that continue to be at the heart of our communities. We ask that everyone continues to discuss treaty and what it means to you. Our strength comes from our diversity.
Together, we are stronger.
· Enrolment to vote and candidate nominations are currently open.
· A candidate nomination form, and further information, is available via www.firstpeoplesvic.org/candidate-nominations
· For more information, please contact 1800 TREATY (1800 873 289).