Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 November 2021) . . Page.. 3865 ..
I note that some of those people who have given their support and worked with me are here today in the chamber. So thank you for taking the time to be here, and I look forward to continuing to work together. Of course, this legislation, if passed, is just the beginning of this work. Significant community consultation would need to be undertaken by the minister ahead of any consideration concerning recognition of a person important for reconciliation in Australia. I look forward to continuing to play a role in ongoing community consultation.
I think it is also worth noting that introducing this amendment bill today is quite timely. This is the last week the Assembly will sit before the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, which was established on 26 January 1972. As we all know, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy is a permanent protest occupation site to bring about attention to and change for the political rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Initially, it was established by four men under a beach umbrella. It has come a long way since then.
The Tent Embassy has been in its current location, on the lawns at the front of Old Parliament House, since 1992. It has served and continues to serve as a stark reminder that we still have a long way to go, as a community and as a nation. As of 2021, the focus of protests represented by the Aboriginal Tent Embassy has extended beyond land rights to also include Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. As we seek to move forward together, as a community, it is fitting to make this important legislative amendment to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Tent Embassy’s establishment.
As many of you know, prior to commencing my position as an elected member for Murrumbidgee, I spent 15 years of my life working with remote Indigenous communities across the Northern Territory. I have seen firsthand the challenges in communities, the struggle for rights and recognition, and the implementation of policies that further entrench disadvantage and inequality. We have a long way to go in recognising collective Indigenous rights in Australia, which is really central to a decolonising policy process.
This amendment to the Public Place Names Act is a fitting and timely tribute, a move away from colonisation and a symbolic contribution towards reconciliation. I am really pleased, on behalf of Murrumbidgee residents that I represent and the ACT community, to be tabling this amendment bill in today’s Assembly. I would also like to thank Minister Gentleman and his office for their support to do this. I am really hopeful that the debate may coincide with Reconciliation Week. I have noted that we have got two sitting days on 1 and 2 June. It always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.
Debate (on motion by Mr Gentleman) adjourned to the next sitting.
MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (3.20): I move: