Page 3723 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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happened. The rhetoric is that historical policy was made with good intentions. It was not; it was made with white people’s intentions. This is why I am passionate about enshrining a First Nations voice in our federal parliament.

A central part of the success of the voice referendum is the importance of support from state and territory governments. Our support here in the ACT, that of our parliament and our people, will be key to getting a majority yes vote from the Australian public to enshrine a voice to parliament. This means that we must start our work now, and campaign alongside our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and platform their voices in this place.

Here in the ACT the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body was established to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT to have a strong, democratically elected voice. It consists of seven people representing the interests and aspirations of the local community. It provides direct advice to government with the ambition of improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans—a step towards true reconciliation. They are also the ACT jurisdictional member on the Joint Council on Closing the Gap.

It is important for us to support ways for First Nations people to come together with all levels of government to have a say on matters that matter most to them, including practical actions like closing the gap. We must continue to consider ways to strengthen these connections and move forward in partnership.

As part of the government’s commitment to the implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full, the government will establish an independent Makarrata commission to oversee a national process for agreement-making and truth-telling. This goes to the treaty and truth aspects of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Uluru statement says:

Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.

This will be the first small step to establishing a national truth-telling body. This will not be quick or easy, but the groundwork is incredibly important, and something we in the ACT are committed to.

I commend the Ngunnawal Council and Aunty Violet for their work in leading the truth-telling process in the ACT. We know that these conversations in the ACT and across Australia’s states and territories will be considered as part of decisions any federal government makes regarding the design and functions of a Makarrata commission.

I would like to again quote Paula McGrady:

It will be an empowered voice for our future leaders, created from the unity to Strengthen and Truth Recording to permanently enshrine for our future

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