White Australia has a Black History. This country was founded on the invasion and dispossession of First Nations peoples. Until we are honest about that fundamental injustice and its ongoing impacts, we can't move together into the future.
A Treaty, or Treaties, would address that injustice, reframe how we operate as a society, change the course of this country’s history and set us on a new path.
A Treaty is a written agreement between the Sovereign First People of these lands – people who have been here from time immemorial – and the colonising state, that imposed its authority upon First Nations people without negotiation or consent. To do this, we first need truth-telling about the historical and ongoing injustices faced by this country’s First Nations people. Treaty would end the suffering and heal the wounds, bringing about much-needed peace and justice.
Currently Australia lags behind other Commonwealth countries in failing to pursue a Treaty process with its First Nations Peoples.
‘If we write a Treaty together, it can be the means to tell the story of who we want to be as a country – creating a national identity that celebrates what unites us, protects the rights of First Nations people and acknowledges the injustices, both past and present.’
Treaty will ensure Aboriginal people’s voices are counted. It can be a process that benefits all Australians, and be a platform to address many of the pressing issues we face as a country – protection of land and water, tackling the climate crisis, and addressing growing economic inequality.
With the Greens in shared power after the next election, we will be able to put a Treaty on the national agenda. We cannot change the past, but we can build a better future – and that starts with bringing people together.
The Greens plan includes:
- $250m for a national Truth and Justice Commission, an independent body with the powers of a Royal Commission. The Commission would investigate and reveal historic and ongoing human rights abuses, wrongdoing, and provide recommendations on how to heal from them.
- Establishing a compensation scheme, providing each survivor with a $200,000 payment to support them and their families as they age and continue to heal
- $7,000 payment for funeral expenses
- $371m to self-determined, community-led First Nations health services to increase their capacity to care for their own communities
- Ensure people have early access to preventative programs and provide funding of $1.07b to build First Nations owned healing places
- Strong laws to protect First Nations cultural heritage, knowledge and intellectual property
- Raise the age of legal responsibility to at least 14 years and support children through culturally safe and supportive programs to ensure kids get back on track
- Double the funding for legal assistance services and provide an extra $310 million per year so all people have access to legal help when they need it