NACCHO Aboriginal Health #RefreshTheCTGRefresh : Read or Download @billshortenmp speech plus @Malarndirri19 @LindaBurneyMP @SenatorDodson Press Release and annual #Closingthegap report to Parliament

 “So in that spirit, I welcome the new partnership between the Commonwealth, the States and the Coalition of Aboriginal Peak bodies – and the change in thinking that that represents. I’m conscious that the Peak organisations have done the heavy lifting too, to date, with limited resources.

And I congratulate them for persevering, for refusing to meekly accept the draft framework that was presented to you as a fait accompli in the past and instead, asserting your right to a permanent place at the table.

My colleagues and I deeply respect your role as advocates, as experts and as Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, committed to Closing the Gap. If we are successful at the next election, you will be central to setting policy and seeing that it is implemented, collaborating with frontline services and community leaders at local and regional level.

Partnership in action, not just words. Plainly, after ten years, refreshing the Closing the Gap targets is necessary. But this can never mean lowering our sights, reducing our targets, limiting our ambitions. ” 

Bill Shorten MP Opposition Leader Closing the Gap speech see Part 2 Below or Download 

Download Speech HERE

Bill Shorten Speech

Download CTG Report

 NACCHO Members Service 2019 CtG Report –

Watch Coverage

One day after the eleventh anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations, the Prime Minister handed down his Close the Gap report – highlighting another year of stalled progress on this critical national project.

The report reminds us of the little progress we have made in addressing the structural inequalities facing First Nations peoples.

While we are pleased to see improvements in early childhood and Year 12 retention, we cannot deny the reality: only two targets out of seven are on track.

As a nation, this is an indictment upon us all.

First Nations people are frustrated, as is Labor. The Abbott- Turnbull- Morrison Government’s delay and dysfunction has no justification.

The targets have not failed. Governments have failed. It is our collective failure to not match well-intentioned rhetoric with action.

While a refresh of the Close the Gap framework is necessary, and we welcome the government new commitment to working in partnership with First Nations people, we cannot ignore the fact that until now, the government has failed to adequately engage with First Nations people.

If the government is truly committed to ensuring First Nations people have a say in matters that affect them, then they should immediately reverse their opposition to a constitutionally enshrined Voice for First Nations people.

The government has also failed to provide national bipartisan leadership on the refresh process. Labor was not consulted at any point in this process.

Whether it’s Close the Gap, the Community Development Program, the Indigenous Advancement Strategy or Constitutional Recognition, this government has constantly pursued flawed policies and failed to engage with First Nations people in their design or implementation.

Paternalism does not work. First Nations peoples must have a say in the matters that affect their lives and policies must be co-designed with full free and prior informed consent. This is how we achieve self-determination and properly address the substantial and structural inequality facing First Nations peoples.

This is how we close the gap.

If Labor is elected at the next election, a Voice for First Nations people, enshrined in our constitution, will be our first priority for constitutional reform.

Business as usual is no longer an option.

Only when First Nations people have a permanent and ongoing say in the issues that affect their lives, will we ever close the gap.

Part 2 Bill Shorten MP Opposition Leader Closing the Gap speech

I congratulate the Prime Minister on the address he’s just given. I acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and I pay my respects to elders past and present.

At the heart of reconciliation is a profound and simple truth: Australia is, and always will be, Aboriginal land. First Nations people loved and cared for this continent for millennia, long before our ancestors first arrived by boat.

They fished the rivers, hunted the plains, named the mountains, mapped the country and the skies. They made laws and administered justice here, long before this parliament stood. They fought fiercely to defend their home and they have battled bravely ever since, against discrimination and exclusion, preserving, for their children and for all of us, the world’s oldest living culture.

In addition to the acknowledgments made by the Prime Minister, I would like to specifically acknowledge the work of Prime Minister Rudd and the member for Jagajaga, Jenny Macklin, who helped initiate this annual Closing the Gap address.

Yesterday, I was consulting my Indigenous colleagues about this morning’s address. And I asked them: What could I say to prove this day has value and meaning to our first Australians, to all Australians, to people who have listened to Closing the Gap reports and speeches for 11 years running.

How do we, in this place, demonstrate this is not just an annual exchange of parliamentary platitudes and rhetoric. And Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said to me: “Just tell the truth about how you feel”.

And the truth is that feels a bit an ambiguous, doesn’t it? I feel that there is good news, but not enough good news. I feel there is hope, but not enough hope. That there is progress, but not enough progress. And I feel ambiguous, because how do you talk about the good without varnishing and covering up the bad?

How do you talk about the bad without presenting such a view that you ignore the good work? But the truth is that at this 11th Closing the Gap exchange, I’m frustrated. I suspect many members of the House feel that frustration too.

Frustration, disappointment that after a decade of good intentions, tens of thousands of well-meaning, well-crafted and well-intentioned words, heartfelt words, from five Prime Ministers, we assemble here and we see that not enough has changed. Mind you, I was halfway through expressing these views to the colleagues, when Senator Pat Dodson cut me off, and he said: “Comrade, how do you think we feel?”

And, really, that is our task, to put ourselves in the shoes of all the people who are giving everything to this endeavour. I speak of the heroes at Deadly Choices driving huge improvements in frontline health services.

The brilliant kids of Clontarf and Stars and Girls Academy and so many other great education and mentoring programs.

I speak of brave women and communities leading initiatives against family violence. I speak of the fearless campaigners for justice at Change the Record. I speak of the Indigenous Rangers right now on country, ensuring that all of us can understand and share in the wonders of country their people have called home for 60,000 years.

I speak of the First Australians who enrich every facet of our national life: as leaders and achievers in education and sport, medicine and the law, environmental conservation and academia and politics and art and music and comedy.

I speak of the mums and dads and aunties and uncles, the elders and the grannies doing their very best to keep children and families safe, to keep community together. There is no question, that we should recognise and celebrate their boundless hope and patience and perseverance, often in the face of overwhelming odds

. But we must recognise their frustration too. We should today acknowledge, that it’s not just the gap in life expectancy or health or educational results or employment opportunities. It’s the gap between words and actions, the gap between promises and results. The good ideas and practical initiatives of people on the frontline that get swallowed up in the morass of paperwork and process and waste and lethargy.

The committee recommendations, coroner’s reports, judicial inquiries and Royal Commissions that have been left to gather dust. Of course these years of neglect and indifference are punctuated by bursts of unilateral ‘interventions’ and ‘crisis meetings’ and ‘emergency action’.

And law after law, policy after policy, about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, written without Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

So in that spirit, I welcome the new partnership between the Commonwealth, the States and the Coalition of Aboriginal Peak bodies – and the change in thinking that that represents. I’m conscious that the Peak organisations have done the heavy lifting too, to date, with limited resources.

And I congratulate them for persevering, for refusing to meekly accept the draft framework that was presented to you as a fait accompli in the past and instead, asserting your right to a permanent place at the table.

My colleagues and I deeply respect your role as advocates, as experts and as Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, committed to Closing the Gap. If we are successful at the next election, you will be central to setting policy and seeing that it is implemented, collaborating with frontline services and community leaders at local and regional level.

Partnership in action, not just words. Plainly, after ten years, refreshing the Closing the Gap targets is necessary. But this can never mean lowering our sights, reducing our targets, limiting our ambitions.

And while I understand the Prime Minister is trying to make a point about the dangers of a ‘deficit model’, even the mindset of a ‘gap’.

The uncomfortable truth is that there is a stark gap between the Australia we inhabit and the lives of too many First Nations people.

There are deficits, in justice and jobs, in health and housing, in the opportunities afforded to Aboriginal children who go to school far from where we send our own kids. It is not the targets that have failed. It’s we who have failed to meet them. It is not the targets that have failed. It is we who have failed to meet them.

This is the hard truth this report demands we confront. The truth about ongoing discrimination and disadvantage. The truth about families and communities being broken by poverty, violence, abuse, addiction and alcohol.

The truth that there are still men and women being arrested, charged and jailed – not because of the gravity of their offence, but because of the colour of their skin. If this parliament can’t admit that racism still exists in 2019, then we’re just wasting the time of our First Australians today.

If we can’t admit that racism still exists, then how on earth do we ever fix it? This isn’t political correctness, it’s just stating the obvious, it’s the truth.

The truth that Aboriginal people are still suffering from diseases the rest of us never know, still dying at an age when the rest of us are contemplating retirement.

And the truth about children and young people who are suffering violence, taking their own lives in numbers and circumstances that should shame us all to action.

Last week, Senator Pat Dodson responded to the coroner’s report from those 13 indescribably tragic deaths in the Kimberley. He spoke of ‘unresolved trauma’, a sense of suffering, hopelessness and disillusionment.

And above all, he said, none these can be fixed by answers imposed from outside. The solutions depend on a say and a sense of empowerment and self-worth for young people. And a sense of hope for communities and regions, power in the hands of people who truly live and understand the challenges they face.

Simply put, if we seek to see real change in the lives of First Nations people, then we need to change. Change our approach, change our policies. And above all, change the way that we make decisions.

We need to let First Nations have real control in how decisions are made. So this is where partnership, the word partnership, where the rubber hits the proverbial road. If we say that we want partnership with our first Australians, then we don’t get to pick and choose our partners’ values or priorities.

For more than a decade now, Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders of both the main parties have stood in this place and said we want to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in partnership.

But you don’t get to tell your partner what to think. It is that spirit of partnership which we saw at Uluru in 2017. First Nations people took up the invitation, 250 delegates presented this parliament with their vision. Countless dialogues, thousands of people consulted. I concede that what the First Australians came back to us with wasn’t what we were expecting. But that’s the challenge of partnership, isn’t it?

When the partner says: “I have a different set of priorities and if you really respect me, you will listen to me.”

They came back with a Makarrata Commission to work with National Congress, Land Councils, First Nations leaders and states and territories to continue the work of truth-telling and agreement-making.

And our partners said to us, “We seek a Voice enshrined in the Constitution.” An institution with national weight and local connection, bringing a powerful sense of culture, community and country to the shape of policy and its delivery.

A meaningful, permanent say for Aboriginal people in the decisions that affect their lives. Not a long demoralising slog measured in inches of progress.

Not starting from square one every time a particular issue breaks into the broader national consciousness.

Not a sense of ‘us’ and ‘them’ in the backdrop of everything that we do. Our partners want genuine engagement with humility on the Parliament to acknowledge their role, to recognise that genuine empowerment has to involve the sharing of real power.

You can’t have a partnership of unequals. Partnership means giving as well as taking, listening as well as telling. Today I am proud to declare again that enshrining a Voice for the First Australians will be Labor’s first priority for constitutional change.

If we are elected as the next government of Australia, we intend to hold a referendum on this question in our first term, as our partners have asked us to do. I am optimistic that reform can succeed, the referendum can succeed, because the proposition we should include our First Australians in the nation’s birth certificate is an idea whose time has come. It enjoys powerful support across communities, business and Australians young and old. We will seek bipartisan support.

This is not about building a “third chamber” of parliament, it is not a matter of “separatism” or “special treatment”.

How on earth, in the light of this Closing the Gap Report, with such devastating statistics and tragedies behind these numbers, can we say that we’re giving special treatment to people who don’t even get the same treatment?

This isn’t about favouritism, or conferring unfair advantage. It is about recognising inequalities, centuries old. Bringing honour to our nation.

It’s about recognising that powerlessness is created by prejudice and by discrimination and breaking these chains which hold, not just our First Australians back, but actually chain us all back. It’s as simple as the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples do not start from a level playing field now.

And that true equality of opportunity is measured not by legal standing, or theoretical notions but by lived experienced, by the tangible chance every Australian deserves to get a great education, a good job, to live a happy, fulfilling and healthy life, to see their children grow up and flourish.

And to those who dismiss constitutional recognition as “symbolism” or “identity politics”. Perhaps, unwittingly, that final phrase is closest to the truth. Because enshrining a Voice in the constitution is most certainly about identity.

About our national identity, all of us. It’s about who we are, as Australians. Are we a people who can recognise our First Australians in our constitution, as part of our national identity. Are we big enough, are we brave enough, are we smart enough and generous enough to recognise historical truth, to commit ourselves to equal opportunity and to write that into our constitution.

And in the end, this is why, despite all the well-known impediments, the historical difficulties of changing our constitution, I remain optimistic that the referendum can and should gain support. Because beyond the specific wording of any particular question, as important as that is, this represents a simpler, more elemental test. A test about what we say about ourselves to the world, a test of what we teach our children about what it means to be Australian.

It’s a test of our generosity, of our basic, human decency. It’s a test of whether or not we are fair dinkum partners in the journey to the future. A test of our innate and instinctive sense of fairness. I believe that if we trust the people of Australia with the opportunity to broaden the definition of the fair go, to make our constitution more true to who we are, to describe who we are, they will repay the trust of parliament in overwhelming numbers.

And, Mr Speaker I say to those who somehow believe that constitutional change stands in the way of progress on other fronts, I can promise this. If we are elected as the next government of Australia, seeking to enshrine a Voice in the constitution doesn’t stop us from building the new houses that we need to. It doesn’t stop us from embracing the initiatives to encourage more teachers that we’ve heard about.

It doesn’t stop us training more Aboriginal apprentices or doubling the number of Rangers. It won’t prevent us from bringing together, in our first 100 days, people from all over the nation, the police, the child saftey people, families, to work out what must be done to protect the next generation of First Nations children.

Because we must address the two-pronged crisis in the abuse occurring in communities and the trauma being inflicted in out-of-home care. A Labor Government committed to a Voice will still invest in Aboriginal health care providers, the champions who make such a difference to new mothers and their babies.

A Labor Government will make justice reinvestment a national priority, because youth detention and jail time for young people should be a rarity, not a rite-of-passage. I acknowledge the Prime Minister’s announcement today regarding HECS relief for teachers, commitment to education is welcome. But we want people teaching in remote schools because they want to be there, and we will work to encourage that. And we want more local Aboriginal people, trained as teachers and nurses in their communities.

And to achieve real improvements, there must be not just specific funding, but real needs-based funding for schools and investments in early education, universities and TAFE.

Not just in the bush but in our cities and suburbs, where our first Australians also live, so Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children everywhere get the same chance as every other Australian child to get a great education.

This is the focus and purpose of Labor’s policies. We will support Australian languages in this International year of Indigenous Languages. We will provide compensation to survivors of the Stolen Generations from Commonwealth jurisdictions and create a National Healing Fund for descendants managing intergenerational trauma.

Because saying sorry must always mean making good. And we will abolish and replace the Community Development Program, not just because it is discriminatory, demoralising and punitive but because it is completely counterproductive and ineffective. Labor believes in the dignity of work and that is why we want people living in remote communities to work with dignity. And this isn’t just a job for government alone, I want to work with business and the unions to launch a trades and skills offensive, this is a call to arms.

A mass-mobilisation of training, TAFE and apprenticeships, to bring good jobs to country. Because funding projects in remote communities should not involve bringing contractors and tradies from the other side of Australia. We should give our own young people in these communities the pathway to be the tradespeople of their communities. This will be our approach, not grants without evidence or accountability but programs that put communities and regions back in control of their resources and their futures.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, yesterday, you and I were present at the unveiling of the striking portrait of the Member for Barton.

This portrait of Australian Labor frontbencher Linda Burney, the first Aboriginal woman elected to the House of Representatives, will be displayed in a gallery dominated by white, male former prime ministers and presiding officers.

She wasn’t counted in a Commonwealth census until she was 14 years old. Now her painting will hang on the wall of the Commonwealth Parliament as an inspiration for generations to come. And if we are successful at the next election, she will be one of two First Australians in our new Cabinet, there on merit, for First Australians, and all Australians.

For those who seek to visit Linda’s portrait, it’s near the Barunga statement. A bare 327 words presented to Prime Minister Hawke in 1988. It was a vision for self-determination, for local control, for treaty, truth-telling, national reconciliation.

And just like the bark petitions from Yirrkala. Like the tent embassy on the Federation Lawns. Like Clinton Pryor’s Walk for Justice, or Michael Long’s a decade ago. All represent a message of hope. Proof that despite all the failures and shortcomings and the unfulfilled promises of political generations past, there is still a belief out there amongst our First Australians and indeed all Australians, that this place, this parliament, can play a worthwhile, valuable role in reconciling Australia.

The Uluru Statement offers us that chance, a chance to capture the spirit of the signatories at Barunga.

The Gurunji at Wave Hill. The grand campaigners of 67. The extraordinary victory against the odds of Eddie and Bonita Mabo.

The Apology. And all the other peoples and cultures and communities who have fought and won for their own patient struggles for justice.

We have a chance for Australians to celebrate the unique culture of our First Nations people, their ongoing contribution to the life of our nation.

A chance for us to affirm their special place in our nation’s history and its future. We have a chance for healing and unity and reconciliation.

And to take a further step to ensure that the next generation live to see and know an Australia where the gap is closed and the suffering has subsided.

So, with hope, with pride and with trust and faith in all of us, let us take up that challenge.

NACCHO Aboriginal health and #Barunga30years #TreatyNow : Can we achieve an #UluruStatement #Voice and #Treaties in a reconciled republic of Australia : Plus Indigenous deride Scullion for his offer: ‘Take my job’

Australian states have taken steps towards the nation’s first treaties with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Australia is the only Commonwealth country that does not have a treaty with its indigenous populations.

Many indigenous Australians have cited a treaty or treaties as the best chance of bringing them substantive as well as symbolic recognition – the subject of a long-running national debate.

In an Australian first, a bill committing to a treaty was approved in Victoria’s lower house of parliament on Thursday.

The Northern Territory and Western Australia have pledged their own, separate actions in recent days.

All of this has intensified discussion about whether others, including the Australian government, will follow suit

From BBC Treaty report

Treaty Score board Image above from Kyam Maher MLC

Polling commissioned by the Australia Institute, of 1417 people, found there was 51 per cent support for a treaty and 55 per cent backed a truth telling commission.

There was 46 per cent support for enshrining an indigenous voice in the constitution and 29 per cent of those surveyed opposed the move, the rest were unsure

The Northern Territory’s four Land Councils and the Northern Territory Government have today signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding (the “Barunga Agreement”), paving the way for consultations to begin with Aboriginal people about a Treaty.

A joint meeting of the four Land Councils at Barunga this week voted to empower their Chairmen to sign the MOU “

Combined Land Councils and the Northern Territory Government Prees Release see Part 1 Below

And we also need to make clear that if we can establish a Voice for our first Australians – the decisions made about them are made with them and by them.

This is not a radical concept. It is nothing less than we should expect in any other circumstances.

We should not be afraid either, of the using our voice and the voice of first Australians to talk about treaties and agreement-making between our first Australians and levels of government within Australia.

I believe that Australians have the goodwill to reconcile this country. What they don’t have is the leadership in this country to drive proper and meaningful reconciliation.”

Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten see full speech Part 2 below

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said it was “irresponsible” for supporters of the indigenous voice concept to leave it open and undefined.

He said it was his personal opinion that it would be more effective to have indigenous people having direct influence and power through the office of minister for indigenous affairs.

“Whether or not you can run my job by a committee, well it hasn’t been done before,” Senator Scullion said.

“Don’t just get on the voice like it’s a life ring, it’s the only thing we’ve got, stick our head in it, start paddling, hope there’s no sharks.”

From the Australian June 11 Indigenous deride Scullion for his offer: ‘Take my job’

The proposal to replace a minister of the crown with a group of unelected indigenous leaders is far more radical than what the Uluru reform calls for, a voice to the parliament .It suggests a lack of understanding of how cabinet government works.”

Aboriginal activist and constitutional law professor Megan Davis was highly critical of Senator Scullion’s idea see part 3 below

 

 “What does the Victorian bill say?

If passed in the upper house, it will legislate a process for establishing a state Aboriginal representative body and a treaty, or treaties.

The bill will also require the Victorian government to provide annual updates on progress.

“It is about the recognition of us as the first people of this country,” said Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner Jill Gallagher.

Aboriginal history Prof Richard Broome, from La Trobe University, told the BBC: “It is very significant because it is the first move from any government in the country.”

See Full Guardian Coverage

The South Australian Government has scrapped a process to negotiate treaties with the state’s Aboriginal nations.

It comes on the same day the Northern Territory pledged to work towards a treaty with its Indigenous peoples.

Premier Steven Marshall said his government was instead in the process of developing a “state-wide plan with a series defined outcomes for Aboriginal people across areas including education, child protection, health and jobs”.

“Treaty commissioner Roger Thomas pictured above has provided advice to the incoming government regarding the positives and negatives of the treaty consultation,” Mr Marshall, who is also Aboriginal Affairs Minister, said.

See SA Coverage HERE

 

Part 1

The Northern Territory’s four Land Councils and the Northern Territory Government have today signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding (the “Barunga Agreement”), paving the way for consultations to begin with Aboriginal people about a Treaty.

A joint meeting of the four Land Councils at Barunga this week voted to empower their Chairmen to sign the MOU.

“This is a momentous day in the history of the Territory, a chance to reset the relationship between the Territory’s First Nations and the Government,” Northern Land Council Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanansi said. “We’ve got big journey ahead of us. The MOU gives us high hopes about the future and I hope the Government stays true to spirit of the MOU.”

 

Central Land Council Chairman Francis Jupurrurla Kelly said: “I hope a treaty will settle us down together and bring us self-determination. Today we bounced the ball but we don’t want to stay the only players in this game. The next steps must be led by Aboriginal people across the Territory so that everyone can run with the ball and have their say.”

Anindilyakwa Land Council Chairman Tony Wurramarrba said: “We celebrate the highly significant step that has been achieved today and will work with the Northern Territory Government and other Land Councils to continue the important work required to achieve the goal of a Northern Territory Treaty.”

Tiwi Land Council Gibson Farmer Illortaminni said: “We’ve got to be careful and understand each other about what we want, because we don’t want to have the same problems we’ve had in the past. The MoU is a good start, but we’ve got a long way to go. The Government needs to be honest and transparent.”

Chief Minister Michael Gunner, who signed on behalf of the Government, said: “This is the first day of a new course for the Northern Territory. The MoU we have signed today commits us to a new path of lasting reconciliation that will heal the past and allow for a cooperative, unified future for all.

“A Territory where everyone understands our history, our role in a modern society and our united and joint future will be an important achievement for all Territorians.”

The Territory Labor Government promised soon after the election in 2016 to advance a Treaty, and the MoU is the result of intensive discussions and negotiations between the Land Councils and the Government.

Significantly, the MoU was signed on the first day of the Barunga Sport and Cultural Festival – the 30th anniversary of the presentation of the Barunga Statement to Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who went on to promise a Treaty between the Commonwealth and Australia’s Indigenous peoples, but has remained undelivered.

AMSANT CEO John Paterson was at the signing of the agreement with Senator Dodson

Under the terms of the MOU NT Government will appoint an independent Treaty Commissioner who will lead the consultations with Aboriginal people and organisations across the Territory, and develop a framework for Treaty negotiations. The Commissioner will be an Aboriginal person with strong connections to the Territory, and expressions of interest will be called for the position.

The Land Councils and the Northern Territory Government will make their extensive regional staffing networks available to the Treaty Commission to organise consultations in communities.

The MoU prescribes that all Territorians should ultimately benefit from any Treaty, which must provide for substantive outcomes. It’s founded on the agreement that there has been “deep injustice done to Aboriginal people, including violent dispossession, the regression of their languages and cultures and the forcible removal of children from their families, which have left a legacy of trauma and loss that needs to be addressed and healed”.

“The process will begin with an open slate. We will start with nothing on or off the table,” Mr Gunner said.

The MoU acknowledges that there is a range of Aboriginal interests in the Territory, and that all Aboriginal people must have the opportunity to be fully engaged. It further acknowledges that non-Aboriginal people “need to be brought along in this process.”

The document leaves open the possibility of multiple treaties, and lays out a timetable for the work of the Treaty Commissioner.

Part 2 Bill Shorten Speech at Barunga

I acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.

It’s true everywhere on this mighty continent but no more so than here and now: this is, was and always will be Aboriginal land.

I also want to acknowledge, amongst all of the distinguished guests, including Nigel Scullion, I want to acknowledge all the leaders and the Land Council members.

Not just now but those who were here 30 years ago making such significant decisions. And we should remember those who have passed between then and now.

I thank the Bagala mob for having us on their land.

I also want to acknowledge members of the Stolen Generations who are here with us.

And to you, I wish to reiterate the commitment of my party that if we are elected we will provide overdue compensation to the remaining survivors of the Stolen Generations here in the Northern Territory and everywhere else in Australia.

Thirty years ago, the Barunga Statement was made. It was only 327 words but they were powerful.

But let me acknowledge that in the intervening 30 years not enough of the words, or the spirit,  have been kept.

I’m embarrassed the Barunga Statement hangs on a wall in Parliament House and too many members of parliament wouldn’t even know it was there. And too many walk past it, their eyes looking the other way.

But I’m not here today to talk about failure, I want to add words of hope.

When I see and meet the elders and the leaders of the Land Councils, I see hope.

When I see Senator Pat Dodson, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Linda Burney – first Australians in the Parliament – I see hope.

When I see so many of you here, here for the music and the sport, here to listen and to learn, I see hope.

Yesterday at Katherine High School, remarkable young teenage girls from the Stars Foundation, I saw hope. Remarkable young Aboriginal boys, teenagers at the Clontarf Foundation, I see hope.

I see hope but I also acknowledge there is unfinished business.

Not unfinished business here but unfinished business across our nation. We have not come far enough.

We need to reset the relationship between our first Australians and all other Australians, we need to change the way we do business.

Not until we are a reconciled nation can any of us help fulfil the destiny this nation has.

We need to change the way we talk to each other and act to each other.

I see that we need to use honour, equality, respect and recognition.

For me coming here is a privilege but it is also a reminder. We need to take the Barunga Statement and use it as a map on our journey to deliver a voice for our first Australians in the parliament and in the constitution.

We need to work towards a Makarrata Commission, a truth-telling commission.

Because until our communities can reconcile a joint narrative about the history of this country, we cannot truly be reconciled.

And we also need to make clear that if we can establish a Voice for our first Australians – the decisions made about them are made with them and by them.

This is not a radical concept. It is nothing less than we should expect in any other circumstances.

We should not be afraid either, of the using our voice and the voice of first Australians to talk about treaties and agreement-making between our first Australians and levels of government within Australia.

I believe that Australians have the goodwill to reconcile this country. What they don’t have is the leadership in this country to drive proper and meaningful reconciliation.

I say to the people who fear the concepts of agreement-making, of a Voice, of treaties.

I say to these people who fear this: you have nothing to lose.

You still will be able to play football on the MCG, your backyard hills-hoists will not be part of any claim, the chickens will still lay eggs.

We are not giving a special deal to our first Australians – because they don’t get a special deal in our country.

A famous man once said, it’s all very well that to say that you lift yourself up by your bootstraps but if you don’t own a pair of boots, you’re not starting from the same position.

So I regard the spirit of Barunga as a reminder to trust the better angels of the nature of the Australian people, to recognise that we can’t honour our country unless we honour our first Australians.

Unless we recognise and respect and have equality this nation will not be the country it should be when – because of the colour of your skin – your life expectancy, your access to healthcare, your educational opportunity, your access to housing and to justice are discriminated against.

So I understand very keenly not just the obligation here but the obligation elsewhere for leadership and I thank you very much for inviting me to be part of this great festival today.

Part 3 Indigenous deride Scullion for his offer: ‘Take my job’

Aboriginal leaders and constitutional lawyers have slammed a proposal from Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion to replace his job with an indigenous committee, arguing it is “far more radical” than their proposal for a constitutionally enshrined indigenous voice to parliament.

Senator Scullion made the call during an interview at the Barunga Festival near Katherine in the Northern Territory yesterday, declaring the voice to parliament was “nothing” next to the decision-making and policymaking powers that come with his office.

The voice to parliament has been championed by the Referendum Council and would involve an indigenous representative voice being enshrined in the constitution, as called for by indigenous leaders from across Australia in last year’s Uluru Statement.

Aboriginal activist and constitutional law professor Megan Davis was highly critical of Senator Scullion’s idea.

“The proposal to replace a minister of the crown with a group of unelected indigenous leaders is far more radical than what the Uluru reform calls for, a voice to the parliament,” Professor Davis said. “It suggests a lack of understanding of how cabinet government works.”

Indigenous academic Marcia Langton said she believed Aboriginal people were “perfectly well aware” of the power held by the Indigenous Affairs Minister.

“The Uluru Statement from the Heart calls for a voice to ­parliament, and I’m pretty sure this was not what was meant by the Uluru indigenous Convention delegates,” Professor Langton said.

Former Kimberley Land Council CEO Nolan Hunter said the idea was unworkable.

“If you applied the same thinking to all the other portfolio areas, how would that work?” he said.

Mr Hunter said Senator Scullion’s idea was a distraction from constructive work the indigenous community had been doing towards the voice to parliament.

Constitutional law professor Cheryl Saunders, who is not indigenous, was also sceptical, tweeting: “So much for the Parliament. And, for that matter, the cabinet.”

Senator Scullion accused the Referendum Council of being “irresponsible” in proposing the voice to parliament without also proposing a question to put to a referendum.

A parliamentary committee co-chaired by Labor senator Pat Dodson and Liberal MP Julian Leeser is examining recognition for indigenous Australians in the constitution, with submissions due today.

Senator Scullion said a voice to ­parliament was “all fluff” compared with the power his job holds.

“It’s my job, mate. It’s my job,” he told Sky News. “I have the money and I have the capacity, not me, but the job has the capacity to allocate funds, to create policy, to create change and to do stuff … Now if you don’t have that you’re just fluffing around the edges. You don’t want a voice to parliament, you don’t want a third chamber … it is nothing next to the decision-making, the policymaking, that comes with my office”.

Asked whether he was proposing putting the powers of his job in the hands of indigenous Australians, Senator Scullion said: “Absolutely. Because they would run their own thing.”

He knew from his interactions with Aboriginal people “that part of what they want is more control. So this should be a part of the conversation, a wider conversation.”

He had not “specifically” discussed his idea with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “My utterances are not necessarily the views of government,” he said.

Aboriginal Health #Garma2017 : #Makarrata ,canoes and the #UluruStatement @TurnbullMalcolm @billshortenmp Full Speech transcripts

 ” Djapiri said Bill and I are in the same canoe and on this issue we certainly are – but we are not alone, we are not alone in the canoe. We are in the same canoe with all of you as well and we need to steer it wisely to achieve our goal, to achieve that goal of Makarrata.

Beyond Constitutional Recognition, that work continues every day. I reflect on the Makarrata discussion of the late 70’s and 80’s. A list of demands was sent to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in 1981. It called for rights to land and resources, compensation, the creation of Aboriginal schools, medical centres and an Aboriginal bank.

Despite a final agreement not being reached at the time, we have achieved some of the policies called for. The Commonwealth provided $433 million to 137 Aboriginal Medical Services across the country last financial year.

As Prime Minister I will continue to do all I can to ensure that being an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian means to be successful, to achieve, to have big dreams and high hopes, and to draw strength from your identity as an Indigenous person in this great country.

That’s why, as we renegotiate the Closing the Gap targets with the various state and territory jurisdictions later this year, my Government has insisted on a strengths based approach.

Indigenous people are not a problem to be solved.

You are our fellow Australians. Your cultures are a gift to our nation.”

Selected extracts from the full Prime Minister Speech 5 August Garma see Part 2 Full Speech

Download full copy Garma 2017 PM full Speech

” Djapirri said, she told me of a dream of a canoe, paddled by the Prime Minister and myself.

That in itself is an arresting image. Two captains. But in all seriousness, we appreciated I think the power of that illusion, the power of that dream.

Here at Garma, on the lands of the Gumatj, we gather to talk about a Yolngu word. Makarrata.

It is not just now a Yolngu word – I put it to you it’s a national test.

Coming together, after a struggle.

And for the first Australians, it has been a very long struggle indeed.

– A struggle against dispossession and discrimination, exclusion and inequality.

– A struggle against violence and poverty, disease and diminished opportunity.

– A struggle for better health, for better housing, for safer communities, more jobs, for longer lives.

– A struggle against injustice and racism: from the sporting field to the courts of our land.

Above all, a struggle for a better future for their children: a struggle to be counted, to be heard, to be recognised.

At Uluru, you gave us the statement from the heart.

A call for:

– A voice enshrined in the Constitution

– A declaration to be passed by all parliaments, acknowledging the unique place of the first nations in Australian history, their culture, their connection.

And a Makarrata Commission to oversee a process of agreement-making and truth-telling.

All three of these objectives speak to the long-held and legitimate aspirations of our First Australians:

– A proper acknowledgment of Aboriginal histories and the dispossession that followed upon the arrival of the Europeans

– A bigger say in the issues which affect you – no more ‘solutions’ imposed without consultation or consent

And a more lasting settlement, a new way forward, a new pathway including through treaties.

These ideas are not new – but the Uluru statement did articulate these with new clarity, a new passion, a new sense of truth and purpose “

Selected extracts The Hon Bill Shorten speech  Garma 5 August 2017 see in full Part 3 Below

Download full speech Garma 2017 PM full Speech

Part 1 Media Coverage

View NITV Media coverage

When it comes to Aboriginal constitutional reform, picture Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten sitting in a canoe – and the opposition leader thinks he’s the only one paddling.

The Labor leader has backed a referendum question on an indigenous voice to parliament, while the prime minister has failed to commit bipartisan support.

The two politicians are moving together downstream, struggling to balance the boat to achieve reconciliation, Gumatj leader Djapirri Mununggirritj has told Garma Festival in northeast Arnhem Land.

Mr Shorten called it an “arresting image” but said he was disappointed Mr Turnbull dismissed his end of year referendum question deadline as “very ambitious”.

“We support a declaration by all parliaments, we support a truth telling commission, we are not confronted by the notion of treaties with our first Australians,” he said.

Mr Turnbull acknowledged many Aboriginal leaders were disappointed the government didn’t give “instant fulfilment” to the Referendum Council’s recommendations.

He described the Yolgnu elder’s canoe analogy as apt, saying his cabinet will give the matter careful consideration to keep the aspiration of Makarrata, or coming together after a struggle, from capsizing.

An “all or nothing approach” to constitutional change risks rocking the boat, resulting in a failed referendum, and Mr Turnbull called for time to develop a winnable question to put to Australian voters.

“We are not alone in the canoe, we are in the canoe with all of you and we need to steer it wisely to achieve that goal of Makarrata,” he said.

Mr Turnbull said there’s still many practical questions about what shape the advisory body would take, whether it would be elected or appointed and how it would affect Aboriginal people around the country.

Specifically, he questioned what impact the voice to parliament would have on issues like child protection and justice, which are largely the legislative domain of state and territory governments.

But Mr Shorten said debate over Aboriginal recognition in the nation’s founding document has dragged on for the past decade.

“I can lead Mr Turnbull and the Liberal party to water but I can’t make them drink,” he said.

Having led the failed 1999 republic referendum campaign, Mr Turnbull warned that Australians are “constitutionally conservative”, with just eight out of 44 successful since federation.

But Mr Shorten said “Aboriginal Australians do not need a balanda [white person] lecture about the difficulty of changing the constitution”.

Mr Shorten’s proposal of a joint parliamentary committee to finalise a referendum question has been met with cynicism by indigenous leaders.

The Above AAP

 

 Part 2 PRIME MINISTER Garma SPEECH :

Ngarra buku-wurrpan bukmak nah! Nhuma’lanah.

Ngarra Prime Minister numalagu djal Ngarra yurru wanganharra’wu nhumalangu bukmak’gu marrigithirri.

Ngarra ga nhungu dharok ga manikay’ ngali djaka wanga’wu yirralka.

I acknowledge and pay respect to your country, and your elders.

As Prime Minister, I’m here to talk to you and learn from you.

I acknowledge and respect your language, your song lines, your dances, your culture, your caring for country, and your estates.

I pay my respects to the Gumatj people and traditional owners past, present and future, on whose land we are gathered.

I also acknowledge other Yolngu people, First Peoples from across the country and balanda here today including Bill Shorten, Nigel Scullion and all other Parliamentary colleagues but above all I acknowledge our Parliamentary colleagues, Indigenous Parliamentary colleagues. Truly, voices of First Australians in the Parliament. Thank you for being here today and for the wisdom you give us, you together with my dear friend Ken, so much wisdom in the Parliament.

I offer my deep respect and gratitude to the Chairman of the Yothu Yindi Foundation, Dr Galarrwuy Yunupingu for hosting Lucy and me with your family. It was lovely to camp here last night and the last music was beautiful, serene and like a lullaby sending us all off to our dreams. Thank you. Emily was the last singer – beautiful.  And of course we woke here to the beautiful sounds of Gulkala.

I again as I did yesterday extend our deep condolences to the family of Dr G Yunupingu at this very sad time. He brought the Yolngu language to the people of Australia and his music will be with us forever.

I’ve come here to North East Arnhem Land to learn, participate respectfully and can I thank everyone so far I’ve had the chance to talk with. I am filled with optimism about our future together as a reconciled Australia.

Last month scientists and researchers revealed new evidence that our First Australians have been here in this land for 65,000 years.

These findings show that Indigenous people were living at the Madjedbebe rock shelter in Mirarr Country, at Kakadu east of Darwin, 18,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Among the middens, rock paintings, remains, plants and ochre, was the world’s oldest-known ground-edge axe head.

These findings place Australia on centre stage in the story of human origin, including mankind’s first long-distance maritime voyage – from Southeast Asia to the Australian continent.

Our First Peoples are shown as artistically, as technologically advanced, and at the cutting edge of technology in every respect.

Importantly, they confirm what Aboriginal people have always known and we have known – that your connection, your intimate connection to the land and sea are deep, abiding, ancient, and yet modern.

This news is a point of great pride for our nation. We rejoice in it, as we celebrate your Indigenous cultures and heritage as our culture and heritage – uniquely Australian.

As Galarrwuy said yesterday as he spoke in Yolngu, he said: “I am speaking in Australian.” Sharing, what a generosity, what a love, what a bigness he showed there as he does throughout his life and his leadership.

I want to pay tribute to the work of so many of you here today, who are leading the healing in communities, building bridges between the old and new, and looking for ways to ensure families and communities are not just surviving, but thriving.

Particularly the Indigenous leaders who every day wear many hats, walk in both worlds, and yet give tirelessly for their families and their communities. You often carry a very heavy load, and we thank you.

Where western astronomers look up at the sky and look for the light, Yolngu astronomers look also deep into the dark, using the black space to uncover further information, to unravel further mysteries.

So while we are both looking at the night sky, we are often looking at different parts. And yet through mutual respect, sharing of knowledge and an openness to learning, together we can see and appreciate the whole sky.

Those same principles are guiding us toward Constitutional Recognition.

The final Referendum Council report was delivered, as you know, on the 30th of June. Bill Shorten and I were briefed by the Referendum Council two weeks ago. The report was a long time coming and I know some would like an instant fulfillment of its recommendations.

Let me say, I respect deeply the work of the Referendum Council and all of those who contributed to it, and I respect it by considering it very carefully and the Government is doing so, in the first instance with my colleagues, including Ken Wyatt the first Indigenous Australian to be a Federal Minister, and together we consider it with our Cabinet. That is our way, that is our process, that is how we give respect to serious recommendations on serious matters.

And I do look forward to working closely and in a bipartisan way with the Opposition as we have done to date.

Djapiri said Bill and I are in the same canoe and on this issue we certainly are – but we are not alone, we are not alone in the canoe. We are in the same canoe with all of you as well and we need to steer it wisely to achieve our goal, to achieve that goal of Makarrata. Thank you again Galarrwuy for that word.

We share a sense of the significance of words. I love words and language. There is a great definition. What is the difference between poetry and prose? The best definition of poetry that I have ever found is that which cannot be translated, it can only be felt.

The Referendum Council’s report as Marcia reminded us is the fourth major report since that time and it adds immensely to the depth of knowledge. It gave us the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and I congratulate all those who attended on reaching an agreement. That was no small task.

It tells us that the priority for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is to resolve the powerlessness and lack of self-determination experienced – not by all, but certainly by too many.

I have been discussing it with leaders, the leaders of our First Australians and will continue to do so as we develop the next steps.

But there are still many questions:

What would the practical expression of the voice look like? What would the voice look like here for the Yolngu people? What would it look like for the people of Western Sydney, who are the largest population of Aboriginal peoples in Australia?

Is our highest aspiration to have Indigenous people outside the Parliament, providing advice to the Parliament? Or is it to have as many Indigenous voices, elected, within our Parliament?

What impact would the voice have on issues like child protection and justice, where the legislation and responsibility largely rest with state and territory governments?

These are important questions that require careful consideration. But the answers are not beyond us.

And I acknowledge that Indigenous Australians want deeper engagement with government and their fellow Australians, and to be much better consulted, and represented in the political, social and economic life of this nation.

We can’t be weighed down by the past, but we can learn from it.

Australians are constitutionally conservative. The bar is surmountable, you can get over it but it is a high bar. That’s why the Constitution has often been described as a frozen document.

Now many people talk about referendums, very few have experienced leading a campaign. The 1999 campaign for a Republic – believe me, now, one of the few subjects on which I have special knowledge – the 1999 campaign for a Republic has given me a very keen insight into what it will take to win, how hard it is to win, how much harder is the road for the advocate for change than that of those who resist change. I offer this experience today in the hope that together, we can achieve a different outcome to 1999. A successful referendum.

Compulsory voting has many benefits, but one negative aspect is that those who for one reason or another are not interested in an issue or familiar with it, are much more likely to vote no – it reinforces an already conservative constitutional context.

Another critical difference today is the rise of social media, which has changed the nature of media dramatically, in a decade or two we have a media environment which is no longer curated by editors and producers – but freewheeling, viral and unconstrained.

The question posed in a referendum must have minimal opposition and be clearly understood.

A vital ingredient of success is popular ownership. After all, the Constitution does not belong to the Government, or the Parliament, or the Judges. It belongs to the people.

It is Parliament’s duty to propose changes to the Constitution but the Constitution cannot be changed by Parliament. Only the Australian people can do that.

No political deal, no cross party compromise, no leaders’ handshake can deliver constitutional change.

Bipartisanship is a necessary but far from a sufficient condition of successful constitutional reform.

To date, again as Marcia described much of the discussion has been about removing the racially discriminatory provisions in the Constitution and recognising our First Australians in our nation’s founding document.

However, the Referendum Council has told us that a voice to Parliament is the only option they advise us to put to the Australian people. We have heard this, and we will work with you to find a way forward.

Though not a new concept, the voice is relatively new to the national conversation about constitutional change.

To win, we must all work together to build a high level of interest and familiarity with the concept of a voice, and how this would be different, or the same, as iterations of the past like the National Aboriginal Conference or the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

We also need to look to the experience of other countries, as we seek to develop the best model for Australia.

The historic 1967 Referendum was the most successful in our history because of its simplicity and clarity. The injustices were clearly laid out – Indigenous people were not enjoying the rights and freedoms of other citizens. The question was clearly understood – that the Commonwealth needed to have powers to make laws for Indigenous Australians. And the answer seemed obvious – vote yes to ensure the Commonwealth gave Indigenous people equal rights.

To succeed this time around, we need to develop enough detail so that the problem, the solution and therefore the question at the ballot box are simple, easily understood and overwhelmingly embraced.

One of the toughest lessons I learnt from the Referendum campaign of ‘99 was that an ‘all or nothing’ approach sometimes results in nothing. During the campaign, those who disagreed with the model that was proposed urged a “no” vote, arguing that we could all vote for a different Republic model in a few years. I warned that a “no” vote meant no republic for a very long time.

Now, regrettably, my prediction 18 years ago was correct. We must avoid a rejection at a referendum if we want to avoid setting Makarrata reconciliation back.

We recognise that the Uluru statement is powerful because it comes from an Indigenous-designed and led process. And because it comes from the heart, we must accept that it is grounded in wisdom and truth.

It is both a lament and a yearning. It is poetry.

The challenge now is to turn this poetry that speaks so eloquently of your aspiration into prose that will enable its realisation and be embraced by all Australians.

This is hard and complex work. And we need to take care of each other as we continue on this journey. We need to take care of each other in the canoe, lest we tip out of it.

Yesterday afternoon was a powerful show of humanity. As we stood together holding hands – Indigenous and non-Indigenous people – we stood together as Australians. As equals.

And we will have the best chance of success by working together. This cannot be a take it or leave it proposal. We have to come to the table and negotiate in good faith, and I am committed to working with you to find a way forward.

Galarrwuy – you gave us your fire words yesterday, thank you again. We will draw on them as we look to light the path forward for our nation.

And when considering how to do that, we are inspired by the success of the Uluru process. The statement that emerged from Uluru was designed and led by Indigenous Australians and the next steps should be too.

To go to a referendum there must be an understanding between all parties that the proposal will meet the expectations of the very people it claims it will represent.

Now we have five Aboriginal members of our Parliament. They will be vital in shaping and shepherding any legislation through the Parliament. They too are bridge builders, walking in both worlds, and their contribution to the Parliament enriches us all.

The Australian Parliament and the nation’s people – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – must be engaged as we work together to find the maximum possible overlap between what Indigenous people are seeking, what the Australian community overall will embrace and what the Parliament will authorise.

I have been learning that the word Makarrata means the ‘coming together after a struggle’— Galarrwuy told us a beautiful story this morning about a Makarrata here in this country. And a Makarrata is seen as necessary, naturally, if we are to continue our path to reconciliation.

But just like the night sky, reconciliation means different things to different people. This complexity convinces me that our nation cannot be reconciled in one step, in one great leap. We will only be reconciled when we take a number of actions, both practical and symbolic.

Beyond Constitutional Recognition, that work continues every day. I reflect on the Makarrata discussion of the late 70’s and 80’s. A list of demands was sent to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in 1981. It called for rights to land and resources, compensation, the creation of Aboriginal schools, medical centres and an Aboriginal bank.

Despite a final agreement not being reached at the time, we have achieved some of the policies called for. The Commonwealth provided $433 million to 137 Aboriginal Medical Services across the country last financial year. Indigenous Business Australia provides low interest loans to help Indigenous Australians secure economic opportunities including home ownership with 544 new housing loans made last year. The Aboriginal Benefits Account supports Northern Territory Land Councils and provides grants for the benefit of Aboriginal people living in the Territory.

We now spend $4.9 billion on the Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

And we are empowering communities through our Indigenous Procurement policy.

I am pleased to announce today the Commonwealth has officially surpassed half a billion dollars in spending with Indigenous businesses all over Australia. I am looking forward to sharing the full two-year results in October. This is a spectacular increase from just $6.2 million being won by Indigenous businesses only a few years ago under former policies.

Since 2008 the Commonwealth has been helping improve remote housing and bring down rates of overcrowding, with $5.4 billion to build thousands of better homes over ten years.

And the land is returning to its traditional owners.

More than 2.5 million square kilometres of land, or about 34 per cent of Australia’s land mass is today recognised under Native Title. Another 24 per cent is covered by registered claims and by 2025, our ambition is to finalise all current Native Title claims.

So we are standing here on Aboriginal land – land that has been rightfully acknowledged as yours and returned to you. And we are standing here near the birthplace of the land rights movement. A movement of which the Yolngu people were at the forefront.

As a nation we’ve come a long way.

In the Northern Territory, more than 50 per cent of the land is now Aboriginal land, recognised as Aboriginal land.

Just like the land at Kenbi which, on behalf of our nation, I returned to the traditional owners, the Larrakia people last year.

Earlier this year I appointed June Oscar AO, who has been acknowledged earlier, as the first female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, who has agreed to report on the issues affecting Indigenous women and girls’ success and safety.

And all of that work contributes to a better future for our First Australians.

But there is much more to be done in not just what we do, but how we do it – as we work with our First Australians. We are doing things with our First Australians, not to them.

Now Galarrwuy – I have read and read again your essay Rom Watungu. It too is a story from the heart, of your father, of his life and when his time came, how he handed his authority to you, the embodiment of continuity, the bearer of a name that means “the rock that stands against time”

But rocks that stand against time, ancient cultures and lore, these are the strong foundations on which new achievements are built, from which new horizons can be seen – the tallest towers are built on the oldest rocks.

You, Galarrwuy, ask Australians to let Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders breathe and be free, be who you are and ask that we see your songs and languages, the land and the ceremonies as a gift.

As Prime Minister I will continue to do all I can to ensure that being an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian means to be successful, to achieve, to have big dreams and high hopes, and to draw strength from your identity as an Indigenous person in this great country.

That’s why, as we renegotiate the Closing the Gap targets with the various state and territory jurisdictions later this year, my Government has insisted on a strengths based approach. Indigenous people are not a problem to be solved. You are our fellow Australians. Your cultures are a gift to our nation.

There’s so much more work to be done.

But in doing so, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and all Australians, continue to connect with pride and optimism – with mabu liyan, in Pat’s language from the Yawuru people – the wellbeing that comes with a reconciled harmony with you, our First Australians, our shared history truthfully told and a deeper understanding of the most ancient human cultures on earth, and the First Australians to whom we have so much to thank for sharing them with us.

Thank you so much.

Part 3 Opposition Leader’s Garma Speech

Good morning everybody.

I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land upon which we meet, I pay my respects to elders both past and present.

I recognise that I stand on what is, was and always will be Aboriginal land.

I acknowledge the Prime Minister and his wife Lucy.

I wish to thank Gallarwuy and the Gumatj for hosting us – and on behalf of my Labor team who are here, Senator Pat Dodson, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, the Hon Linda Burney, the Hon Kyam Maher, supported also by local Members of Parliament the Hon Warren Snowden and Luke Gosling, and Territory Minister Eva Lawler.

We are very grateful to be part of this gathering.

Also Clementine my daughter asked me to thank you for letting her join in the bunggul yesterday afternoon, she loved it.

At the opening yesterday, we were privileged, all of us, to be at a powerful ceremony, where we remembered Dr G Yunupingu, a man who was born blind – but helped Australians see.

From his island, his words and his music touched the world.

But I also understand that the words of our host were about setting us a test, reminding all of us privileged to be here that there is serious business to be done.

Here at Garma, on the lands of the Gumatj, we gather to talk about a Yolngu word. Makarrata.

It is not just now a Yolngu word – I put it to you it’s a national test.

Coming together, after a struggle.

And for the first Australians, it has been a very long struggle indeed.

– A struggle against dispossession and discrimination, exclusion and inequality.

– A struggle against violence and poverty, disease and diminished opportunity.

– A struggle for better health, for better housing, for safer communities, more jobs, for longer lives.

– A struggle against injustice and racism: from the sporting field to the courts of our land.

Above all, a struggle for a better future for their children: a struggle to be counted, to be heard, to be recognised.

In 2015, the Referendum Council was created with a very clear mission.

To consult on what form Constitutional Recognition should take – how it should work.

To listen to Aboriginal people and to be guided by their aspirations.

And to finally give them a say in a document from which too long they been excluded.

Since then, thousands of the first Australians have explained to the rest us what

Recognition means – for all of us, for our children and indeed for all of our futures.

We asked for your views, we sought your counsel – and, in large numbers, it was answered.

At Uluru, you gave us the statement from the heart.

A call for:

– A voice enshrined in the Constitution

– A declaration to be passed by all parliaments, acknowledging the unique place of the first nations in Australian history, their culture, their connection.

– And a Makarrata Commission to oversee a process of agreement-making and truth-telling.

All three of these objectives speak to the long-held and legitimate aspirations of our

First Australians:

– A proper acknowledgment of Aboriginal histories and the dispossession that

followed upon the arrival of the Europeans

– A bigger say in the issues which affect you – no more ‘solutions’ imposed without consultation or consent

– And a more lasting settlement, a new way forward, a new pathway including through treaties.

These ideas are not new – but the Uluru statement did articulate these with new clarity, a new passion, a new sense of truth and purpose.

And let me speak truthfully on behalf of Labor, the Opposition.

I cannot be any more clear than this: Labor supports a voice for Aboriginal people in our Constitution, we support a declaration by all parliaments, we support a truth-telling commission.

We are not confronted by the notion of treaties with our first Australians.

For us the question is not whether we do these things, the question is not if we should do these things but when and how.

The Parliament needs to be engaged.

The Parliament needs to be engaged now.

The Parliament needs to start the process of engaging with the people of Australia now.

It does not come as a surprise to me, that following upon a report of the

Referendum Council, the Parliament’s next step must be to consider this report.

And in doing so, we must carry its message from the heart of Australia into our hearts as parliamentarians. With optimism, with understanding, not with a desire to find what is wrong, but to find the desire to make these concepts work in the interests of all.

If we were all gathered here now, back in 1891 and 1894 and 1897 to write the Constitution, we would never dream of excluding Aboriginal people from the Census.

But in 1901, they did.

If we were starting the Constitution from scratch, we would not diminish the independence of Aboriginal people – with racist powers.

But in 1901, they did.

And if we were starting on an empty piece of paper, we would, without question, recognise the First Australians’ right to a genuine, empowered voice in the decisions that govern their lives.

Now as you know, we cannot unmake history. We do not get the change to start all over again – but it doesn’t mean that we are forever chained to the prejudices of the past.

The Prime Minister’s observations though are correct about the difficulties of constitutional change. But I ask also that we cannot let the failure of 1999 govern our future on this question.

Voting for a constitutional voice is our chance to bring our Constitution home, to make it better, more equal and more Australian.

A document that doesn’t just pay respect to the weight of a foreign crown, but also recognises the power and value of the world’s oldest living culture, recognises that

Aboriginal people were here first.

And of course, let us reject those who say that symbolic change is irrelevant because dealing with these questions does not mean walking away from the real problems of inequality and disadvantage.

– Talking about enshrining a voice does not reduce our determination to eradicate family violence

– It doesn’t stop us creating good local jobs, training apprentices, treating trachoma or supporting rangers on country.

– It doesn’t distract us from the crisis in out-of-home care, youth suicide or the shocking, growing number of Aboriginal people incarcerated for not much better reason than the colour of their skin.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples don’t have to choose between historical justice and real justice, you don’t have to choose between equality in society and equality in the Constitution – you have an equal right to both.

The Uluru Statement has given us a map of the way forward – and today I finally want to talk about how we follow it, how we take the next step.

Not the obstacles ahead, not the problems, real as they are.

Aboriginal Australians don’t need a balanda lecture about the difficulty of changing the Constitution, our inspiration friends, should not be the 1999 referendum, it should be the 1967 referendum.

You have lived that struggle, every day.

Let me be very clear. In my study of our history, in my experience, nothing has ever been given to Aboriginal people – everything that is obtained has been fought for, has been argued for, has been won and built by Aboriginal people.

Think of the Freedom Riders

Think of the Bark Petition, which Gallarwuy was witness to

Think of the Gurindji at Wave Hill

Eddie Mabo and his fight for justice

Nothing was ever sorted by simply waiting until someone came along said let me do it for you. It is not the way the world is organised.

Every bit of progress has been driven by pride, by persistence by that stubborn refusal to not take no for an answer when it comes to the pursuit of equality.

Now making the case for change and encouraging Australians to vote yes for a recognition, reconciliation, and truth – this is not easy.

But before we can do that we surely must agree on the referendum question that has to be the long overdue next step.

I have written to our Prime Minister, we’ve proposed a joint parliamentary committee – which they’re taking on board, having a look at – to be made up of Government, the Opposition and crossbench MPs – to work with Aboriginal leaders right across Australia.

This committee will have two key responsibilities.

One – advising the Parliament on how to set-up a Makarrata Commission and create a framework for truth-telling and agreement making, including treaties.

Two – what would a voice look like. Whilst there are many questions, none of these are insurmountable.

And three, as a matter of overdue recognition – to endeavour to finalise a referendum question in a timely fashion. There’s no reason why that couldn’t be done by the end of this year.

The issues have been traversed for a decade.

Now friends this is not a committee for the sake of a committee, it’s not another mechanism for delay. It is the necessary process of engagement of the Parliament.

But we have had ten years plus of good intentions, but it is time now perhaps, for more action.

The Parliament does have a key role to play here, in setting the question.

The Parliament could agree on the question this year if we all work together so that the people could vote not long after that.

Voting to enshrine a voice in a standalone Referendum – free from the shadow of an election, or the politics of other questions.

It may seem very hard to imagine, it may seem very hard to contemplate.

But it is possible to imagine a great day, a unifying day, a famous victory, a Makaratta for all.

As I said yesterday, we’ve heard plenty of speeches, there are many fine words… but perhaps people have a right to be impatient after ten years – indeed after 117 years.

So the test I set isn’t what we say here, in this beautiful place.

It’s what we do when we leave.

It’s the honesty of admitting that after the event, what is it that we do.

The test I set for myself is can I come here at future Garmas and look you in the eye and say I have done everything I can, because if I cannot say to you that I have done everything I that I can, then I can’t be truthful with my heart.

Yesterday Gallarwuy spoke with a tongue of fire, he told a powerful truth.

He said that for more than two centuries we had been two peoples – living side-by-side, but not united.

I think that is the challenge for politics too.

Djapirri who just spoke up before me, she’s talked about hope. There is the hope that you refer to, you have the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. We are here side-by-side, and now we need to be united, not to kick the can down the road, but united on a process that says this parliament will respect what we have heard from Aboriginal people.

Not just at Uluru, but for decades.

In 1967, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were counted. In 2017, you are being heard.

There is no reason why we can’t enshrine a voice for Aboriginal people in our Constitution.

Djapirri said, she told me of a dream of a canoe, paddled by the Prime Minister and myself. That in itself is an arresting image. Two captains. But in all seriousness, we appreciated I think the power of that illusion, the power of that dream.

My party is ready.

I think Australia is ready.

The fine words that we heard at the opening yesterday, they remind me of the fire dreaming symbol, which is in the front of the Parliament of Australia.

Fire.

That fire dreaming symbol is from central Australia but it is connected isn’t it, by the word of Djapirri yesterday.

Again, that spirit of fire it is a gift from Indigenous people to all Australians and I sincerely will endeavor to make sure that spirit of fire infuses our Parliament.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Debate 3 of 3 @BillShortenMP speech #ClosingtheGap Our future is your future.

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Shadow minister for human services Linda Burney MHR ,Senator Pat Dodson , Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Jenny Macklin and leader of the opposition Bill Shorten signing the Redfern statement

See also Mondays 20 Feb press release and ACCHO visit

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Labor sets up Indigenous caucus in push to improve representation across all parties

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” Bill Shorten  pointed  to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations around this country and the magnificent work they are doing to improve the health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people right around this country.

They are the best examples of comprehensive primary health care in the nation. What we do not want is for them to be white-anted by some competitive-funding model, which has the potential to happen.

So I say to the government: invest in what we know works. I am sure that if we do that, we can get better outcomes all round.

I note also—and the Leader of the Opposition spoke about this today—that there are programs that actually do work well.

The Deadly Choices program through the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, which the member for Blair referred to—a highly progressive organisation—started with four health clinics in Brisbane and now has 18, delivering comprehensive primary health care across the urban population of Brisbane for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—some 50,000 to 60,000 people.  The number of health checks is increasing.”

Mr SNOWDON (Lingiari) (17:21):

Can I firstly acknowledge the traditional owners of this great land that we are on, the Ngunawal and the Ngambri people, and acknowledge the traditional owners of all Aboriginal lands—all Aboriginal nations—right around this country, most particularly in my own electorate of Lingiari, which traverses 1.34 million square kilometres, one-sixth of Australia’s landmass, and has a sizeable proportion of the remote Aboriginal population.

Mr SHORTEN (Maribyrnong—Leader of the Opposition) (12:23):

I acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, traditional owners of the land upon which we meet. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.

This tradition of recognition goes back millennia. This parliament and the nation we call home is, was and always will be Aboriginal land. Where we are, so too are Aboriginal peoples: from the Noonga near Perth to the Eora of Sydney, the Nunga of Adelaide, the Kulin around Melbourne, the Palawah of Tassie, the Murri of Brisbane and Torres Strait Islanders. We are one country, enriched by hundreds of nations, languages and traditions.

After the last election, I took on the shadow ministry for Indigenous affairs. My family and I went back to Garma to listen and learn. I have met with Northern Territory leaders, defending the young men being abused in juvenile detention.

I travelled to Wave Hill to commemorate the courage of Vincent Lingiari and the Gurindji. And I have looked to my Indigenous colleagues for their wisdom. They are as inspirational as they are modest: a Wiradjuri woman in the House, a shadow minister; a Yanuwa woman in the Senate, heading our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander caucus committee; and a Yawuru man, the father of reconciliation, I look to him as my mentor and assistant shadow minister.

I also recognise the member for Hasluck, Ken Wyatt, and congratulate him on his historic appointment, and I recognise too Senator Lambie.

I will never forget walking into Cairns West Primary on Djabugay Country on the first day of last year’s election campaign and I saw the wide-eyed smiles of so many young Aboriginal students as I introduced them to Senator Patrick Dodson.

The value of role models, of the next generation seeing faces like theirs in places of power, cannot be underestimated. It should not be the exception. We should make it the rule.

In the Labor Party, we are doing better than we have, but what we did before was simply not good enough and I want us to improve, not just at the federal level but at every level of government.

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There are so many First Australians in the galleries today. You are friends and your peers would elevate and enrich our parliament with your talent, whichever party you choose. I look forward to the day, and can imagine the day, when one of the First Australians is our Prime Minister or, indeed, our head of state.

As the Prime Minister mentioned, the Referendum Council are continuing their important community conversations. After the Uluru gathering, it will be time for the parliament to step up and draw upon these consultations and to finally agree a set of words to put to the Australian people.

I believe, and let me be clear, that this parliament, this year, should agree on a way forward—not a vague poetic statement meaning nothing and offending no-one by saying nothing; a meaningful proposition that every Australian can understand and, I remain confident, Australians will overwhelmingly support.

Recognition is not the end of the road, but it should be the beginning of a new, far more equal relationship between the first peoples of this nation and all of us who have followed. And that is where the listening and the learning must reach beyond the walls of this chamber.

I do not seek to present a balance sheet of the good and the bad—not a list of top-down programs imperfectly managed; not the same old story of reports written but not read. Instead, I believe in a new approach.

We must forget the insulting fiction that the First Australians are a problem to be solved and, instead, have a new approach to listen to people who stand on the other side of the gap; a new approach that, from now on, the First Australians must have first say in the decisions that shape their lives; a new approach that means a stronger voice for the National Congress of Australia’s First People and the resources to make it happen; a new approach to extend ourselves beyond handpicked sources of advice; a new approach to be in the places where our First Australians live and work and play, from Mount Druitt to Logan, in the APY Lands and East Arnhem.

Not treating local consultation as a box to be ticked but applying the wisdom of people who know. Understanding and recognising there are many Aboriginal nations across this country: Waanyi and Warlpiri, Badi Badi and Gumatj, Tharawal and Kuarna, Yorta Yorta and Narrunga. And all of these nations have the right to have control of their future. The change required is deeper and more profound than where we visit and who we talk to, though.

I believe that First Australians want a way to be heard in a voice that they are in control of. I want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to know that Labor hears you.

We understand the need for a structure that is not at the mercy of the cuts or seen as a gift of largesse; a voice that cannot be kicked to the curb by change of government or policy; an entity that recognises culture, kinship, identity, language, country and responsibility; the pride that comes from knowing who you are, where you come from and the values you stand upon; and a system where culture is central and fundamental. And have no doubt; this can be done.

We see it when a Pitjantjatjara person seeks out a local healer, a ngangkari, in addition to a GP—when they see both the GP and the local healer; because spiritual wellbeing cannot be treated by a packet of Panadol alone. We see it in the Koori Court in Parramatta, using diversionary sentencing as an alternative to incarceration. The elders sit on the bench alongside the judges and ask the right questions of young people.

They give the young people a sense of belonging and, if these young people muck up, the elders address them with that straight-talking freedom of family and culture, a frankness and reassurance, that even the judge can learn from.

There at this court, the police, the prosecution and the defence show sensitivity to culture, yet still deal with the young person who has behaved in an antisocial way.

This cross-cultural approach enhances the system, bringing Aboriginal cultures to the centre, allowing justice to be done without diminishing the individual or denying identity. It Australianises justice and makes it work better.

We also see it in the best of Australian theatre and art and in education and literature. And if we can accept the value and richness of Indigenous cultural genius and allow it to impact and transform our justice system and the arts, we can do this with the Australian parliament too. In this the people’s place, we can grow an enhanced respect for the first peoples for their unique societies, for their values and for their experiences.

At Redfern, Paul Keating threw down a gauntlet to us, the non-Aboriginal Australians.

He posed a question that we had never asked: how would I feel if this were done to me? That question still stands before Australia, 25 years later. How would we feel if our children were more likely to go to jail than to university? .

How would we feel if the life expectancy of our families was 20 years shorter than our neighbour? How would we feel if, because of our skin, we experienced racism and discrimination? And how would we feel if every time we offered a solution, an idea or an alternative approach, we were patronisingly told ‘the government knows best’?

This is about our ability to walk in another’s shoes. So our test, as a people and as a parliament, is not just to craft a new response but also to rediscover an old emotion, to recapture the best of Australian compassion, to wake up our brotherhood and sisterhood and recapture our love for our fellow human being and our dedication to our neighbours, as we saw with Weary Dunlop’s devotion to his troops—the love of others over risk to self; with Fred Hollows’ life of service; and with Nancy Wake’s courage. It is actually a spirit we see in millions of ordinary Australians: carers, teachers, volunteers and emergency service personnel. It is the story that Pat told me about the matron at his school demanding that that young boy have sheets on his bed like every other young boy. It is about the lady in Casterton who said that no-one was going to treat Pat any different to any other boy.

Courage comes in all forms, and it is the spirit we need. There is a spirit of courage which lurks in the hearts of all Australians. There is that sense that we, at a certain point, will be pushed no further, that we will not stand for it any more.

It is that spirit to reject discrimination, to reject inequality and to simply say, ‘This cannot continue and Aboriginal people should not put up with the rubbish anymore.’ So my message today is not just for the people in this chamber but for the first peoples of this nation.

We seek your help. We seek your partnership. We seek your inspiration and your leadership, because things cannot continue as they are.

The audit of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy tells a worrying tale, a familiar tale. It is concern about consultation and cuts. But it speaks, though, of a problem—perhaps it is called paternalism—of a slide backwards. We see too often—and this is not a comment on the coalition or Labor; it is a comment about parliament—the legitimate cynicism of our First Australians towards the efforts of this place.

There are problems written across the land, in suburbs and remote communities, in our schools and hospitals, in women’s refuges, in the courts of our country and in the targets that we fall short of today. We see it in the staggering 440 per cent increase in Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.

It has been 20 years since Bringing them home, that report which brought tears to this chamber. It is nine years since Kevin Rudd and Jenny Macklin’s apology to the stolen generations—and I wish to acknowledge former Prime Minister Rudd’s presence here today in the gallery, visiting his former workplace. I say this, Kevin: you can take well-deserved pride in your leadership on the 2008 apology.

But now we have more Aboriginal children than ever growing up away from home and away from kin, culture and country. We know that many members of the stolen generation are still living with the pain of their removal and the harm done by years of having their stories rejected and denied.

That is why I applaud the state governments of New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania, who are already taking steps towards providing reparations to families torn apart by the discrimination of those times. Decency demands that we now have a conversation at the Commonwealth level about the need for the Commonwealth to follow the lead on reparations. This is the right thing to do. It is at the heart of reconciliation: telling the truth, saying sorry and making good.

The Closing the Gap targets were agreed by all levels of government—not just the Commonwealth; the states and the local government—in partnership with Aboriginal people. The targets were driven by the understanding: that your health influences your education, that your education affects your ability to get a job, and that good jobs make thing better for families, relationships and communities. The Closing the Gap framework is an intergenerational commitment to eroding centuries of inequality.

It outlives governments and parliaments and prime ministers and opposition leaders—but it also requires renewal. This year, many of the current targets are due to be renegotiated. And there are also new areas that we must consider. Labor continues to demand a justice target, because incarceration and victimisation are breaking families and communities across this country.

Today we propose a new priority on stronger families—adding a target for reducing the number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care. The Secretariat for National Aboriginal and Islander Chid Care has shone a light on this shame: one in three children in statutory out-of-home care are Indigenous. And Indigenous children are nearly 10 times more likely to be removed by child protection authorities than their non-Indigenous peers.

Labour will listen to and will work with SNAICC—and, most importantly, the communities themselves—to look at new models and new approaches.

Breaking this vicious cycle of family violence, of women murdered and driven from their homes, of unsafe communities, of parents in jail and kids in care, requires more from us than doubling down on the current system.

We need to learn from places like Bourke and Cowra and their focus on justice reinvestment—on prevention, not just punishment; from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who are making men face up to their responsibilities, forcing a change in attitudes and supporting great initiatives such as the ‘No More’ campaign. And that should be our story across the board: in preventative health, in education, in employment and in housing. It is time for humility—to admit that we don’t have the answers here; to go out and seek them.

It is time for truth-telling. Our ancestors drove the first peoples of this nation from their bora ring; we scattered the ashes of their campfires. We fenced the hunting grounds; we poisoned the waterholes; we distributed blankets infected with diseases we knew would kill. And there has been plenty of damage done in different ways with better intentions—by the belief that forced assimilation was the only way to achieve equality.

So today, I come here not to tell but to ask, because where we have failed the first Australians have succeeded. On the road to reconciliation, it is our first Australians who have led the way: giving forgiveness as we seek forgiveness; standing up and walking off at Wave Hill Station, for their right to live on their land in their way; Charles Perkins and the Freedom Riders, who opened the eyes of a generation to racism and poverty; Jessie Street, Faith Bandler, Chicka Dixon, Joe McGinniss and countless others who rallied support for the 67 Referendum under the banner ‘Count us Together’; and Eddie Mabo, who told his daughter Gail: ‘One day, all Australia is going to know my name’.

The success of Aboriginal leadership can be found in every corner of the country. I have seen it with my own eyes: the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, providing essential primary care; marvellous Indigenous rangers, in Wadeye and Maningrida, the Central Desert and the Kimberley, working on country and on the seas and waterways, doing meaningful jobs for good wages; the Families as First Teachers program, which has given culturally-appropriate support to over 2,000 young families, helping with health and hygiene and preparing for early childhood education; Money Mob, teaching budgeting and planning skills; Deadly Choices, through the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health in Brisbane, improving preventive health; the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre in Darwin; the Stars Foundation, inspiring Indigenous girls, modelling the success of the Clontarf Academy for Boys; and there is the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, connecting Aboriginal university students with high achievers at school.

On every issue, at every age, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are demonstrating that solutions are within their grasp. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what needs to be done. What they need from this parliament is recognition, respect and resources.

We cannot swap the tyranny of bureaucracy for funding cuts and neglect. The people on the frontline—the elders, the leaders, the teachers and health-care workers—know what to do. We need to take the time to listen. We need to respect the right of Aboriginal voices to make decisions and to control their own lives—to give them their own place and space. They just need us to back them up.

Fifty years ago, Oodgeroo wrote: … the victory of the 1967 Referendum was not a change of white attitudes. The real victory was the spirit of hope and optimism …We had won something. … We were visible, hopeful and vocal.

All too rarely—before and since—has that been the story for Aboriginal people. Instead, it has been a tale of exclusion: exclusion from opportunity, from the pages of our history, and exclusion from the decisions that govern their lives.

It is time to write a new story. And it is a story of belonging, because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples belong to a proud tradition, of nations who fought the invaders; brave people who fought, and died, for their country, at Passchendaele, Kokoda and Long Tan, and now in the Middle East and Afghanistan; who have fought and continue to fight for justice, for land, for an apology, for recognition.

You belong to a tradition of sporting brilliance, in the face of racism from opponents, teammates, administrators and even spectators. You belong to humanity’s oldest continuous culture—more famous around the world than ever before. You do not belong in a jail cell for an offence that carries an $80 fine. You do not belong strapped into a chair with a hood on your head. You do not belong in the back of a windowless van, away from your family and loved ones. You do not belong in a bureaucrat’s office begging for money. You do not belong on the streets with nowhere to go.

You belong here, as members of parliament, as leaders of this nation. You belong in the Constitution, recognised at last. You belong in schools, teaching and learning. You belong on construction sites, building homes, gaining skills. You belong on country, caring for land. You belong here, growing up healthy, raising your children in safety, growing old with security. You belong here, strong in your culture, kinship, language and country. You belong here, equal citizens in this great country, equal partners in our common endeavour. This is your place. This is our place.

Our future is your future.

As Senator Dodson has said to me, ‘Let’s go. The best advice: let’s get on with it.’ As he would say, in the language of his people, ‘Wamba yimbulan.’