What is a treaty?

Australia is the only Commonwealth Country to have not entered into treaty processes with the First Peoples of the land.

"A ‘treaty’ is an agreement between states, nations or governments, and can include an agreement between Indigenous peoples and governments. A treaty can contain statements of principle, guidelines for future relationships, reparations for past injustices, and guarantees and promises about Indigenous land, sovereignty and identity. It can combine elements of existing historic and modern treaties, and can talk about the past as well as make commitments for the future." (Treaty Fact Sheet)

Reconciliation Victoria's Position Statement on Treaty and Constitutional Recognition

Reconciliation Victoria supports the calls of the Aboriginal community in Victoria for the long-overdue negotiation of a Treaty, and commends the Victorian Government for its commitment to enter into these discussions. We are excited by these developments.

It is our understanding that both state-based Treaty discussions and the national constitutional reform agenda can be progressed alongside each other. Both will represent significant milestones in our country’s history, but they must be informed by the diverse voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples if they are to be achieved. 

Please follow this link for our full position statement

 

So, where are things at?

In late February 2016 the Victorian Government committed to advancing self-determination for Aboriginal Victorians by working towards Australia's first treaty with First Nations Peoples.  This commitment was announced on back of the Victorian Open Aboriginal Community Meeting, at which a motion was passed calling for Treaties to be negotiated. Reconciliation Victoria has a summary of this meeting, including our response. 

Premier Daniel Andrew's stated: Victoria’s treaty with Aboriginal Victorians will be the first of its kind in our nation’s history. And Aboriginal people will lead this change."

The Treaty Interim Working Group conducted 16 community consultation events across Victoria in 2016. The Working Group reported back at a State-Wide Forum in December 2016 & an Interim Report was released in February this year. The final consultations for the design and creation of a representative body to help facilitate the negotiation of Treaty/Treaties have begun with consultations across the state being held in March.  Find out more at Have your say at community and the Results of Consultations.

The agreed approach is made up of 3 parts; Community Consultations; Treaty Circles; and Online Message Stick

The current proposed timeline is a 3 step process, as presented in the Treaty Circles Handbook is as follows:

Step 1: Establish a Representative Body (within the next 18 months)

Step 2: Consult on what is a Treaty 

Step 3: Negotiate Treaty/Treaties (beginning in 2019, this may take many years)

 

Visit our Victorian Context tab for more information.

Latest News & Events

News:

Richard Frankland has written an opinion piece in The Guardian Newspaper relflecting on treaty, "We need our own voice, our own societal structure with our own doctrines, policies, processes and cultural shapes. In essence, we need a social order within a social order". To read the full article titled, 'A treaty won't solve everything, but it could change this nation's cultural tapestry', published on March 6, 2017 follow this link.

In late February Ernest and Young on behalf of the Aboriginal Treaty Interim Working Group released the Aboriginal Community Consultations on the Design of a Representative Body report. Released in Feb 2017. It details the community conversations which led to 8 design principles and 9 aspects of the role and function of the representative body. To read the full report, follow this link

Another round of consultations have been announced for 2017. In March 2017, Aboriginal Victoria will facilitate 12 community consultations across six regional and metropolitan locations to inform and engage the Victorian Aboriginal community in the treaty process. Throughout the month of March consultations will be held in Echuca, Mildura, Porland, Sale, Wodonga and Melbourne. For more information please visit their website.

There has been some media coverage of this report, including The Guardian Newspaper, “Treaty Could Bring Change in the School Curriculum” published on 25th February. 

 

For more news and events please visit our Latest News tab.