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"Australia's First Peoples can learn from the mistakes of the Waitangi Treaty" says Dr Maria Bargh

Talking Treaty – Indigenous experts ask NSW not to be the last state to negotiate with First Nations People.

Reconciliation NSW recently hosted an expert panel to talk Treaty and agreement making in NSW with Members of Parliament.

Attendees included NSW Opposition Leader, The Hon. Luke Foley, NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, The Hon. Sarah Mitchell and Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs The Hon. David Harris.

Anthony McAvoy SC, Jill Gallagher AO, Dr Maria Bargh, James Christian and Larissa Behrendt spoke to clear steps that would need to be undertaken to achieve agreement making in NSW and agreed that all voices would need to be included in any strategy.

The first step as Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner, Jill Gallagher emphasised was not the implementation of legislation but for government to say, “Let’s explore the possibilities” and “How do we do this?”

Just having the conversations will enable the process to truly begin.

James Christian, CEO of NSWALC also stated that “NSW should be leading the discussions, not lagging behind.”

“Friendships are between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples are vital to help continue to foster positive race relations and a political environment where it is politically feasible and desirable to respect and protect Indigenous rights”, says Dr Maria Bargh.

Australia is the only Commonwealth country that does not have a treaty with its First Nations Peoples.

Panellists:

  • Anthony McAvoy SC, Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owner, Senior Counsel and native title law expert
  • Jill Gallagher AO, Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner
  • Dr Maria Bargh, Tumuaki/Head of School, Te Kawa a Māui/School of Māori Studies, Victoria University of Wellington
  • James Christian, CEO, NSW Aboriginal Land Council
  • Professor Larissa Behrendt, Distinguished Professor at the University of Technology Sydney

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