Malcolm Turnbull

Whadjuk man walking across Australia to meet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss Aboriginal Affairs

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Clinton Pryor is on what he calls a Walk for Justice from Perth, through the nation’s red centre and to Parliament House in Canberra where he hopes to meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

A Whadjuk man from the Noongar people of South West Western Australia has told SBS World News he is walking across Australia to bring Aboriginal Affairs to the head of the Prime Minister’s agenda.

Clinton Pryor said that he wanted the walk to catch the Prime Minister’s attention and he hoped to meet with him when he reached Parliament House in Canberra.

He told SBS World News his people were hurting and that it was “time to give his people what they want”.

“What I see these days is I see a lot of my people are in pain and they are hurt and they are frustrated,” he said.

“We’ve been asking for a very long time to start listening to us and the government keeps ignoring and ignoring and this is the time now that the government must sit down and listen to us.

“Give our people what they want so that’s why I’m doing this big massive walk to make the government listen now and start understanding.”

Mr Pryor said the list of grievances was long including deaths in custody, funding for remote communities, destruction of sacred sites and youth justice reinvestment.

Clinton Pryor gives the thumbs up after meeting Merredin elders and brothers Reginald and Mick Hayden here with his support crew.
Clinton Pryor gives the thumbs up after meeting Merredin elders and brothers Reginald and Mick Hayden here with his support crew.
Ryan Emery

But at the heart of the walk was to get a fair go for Indigenous people.

The 26-year-old said he believed an increasing number of Indigenous people also wanted a treaty; not just constitutional recognition.

“The government must listen and give our elders and community leaders and our people a treaty,” he said.

“If they don’t give us our treaty, then we just going to be going around in circles and keep going around in circles and we’re not going nowhere.”

On the day SBS World News met up with Mr Pryor on the road, he was headed to Merredin, about 260 kilometres east of Perth.

He met with elders and locals and listened to their concerns.

He will collect message sticks on his journey to compile a “story” to present to the Prime Minister.

Merredin elder Reginald Hayden said reconciliation was about respect.

"The only time that you get credit for anything that I've seen, through Aboriginal people, is when you play sports,” he said.

“That's the only time that the credit comes to you.

Clinton Pryor’s shoes are wearing up well after six days on the road – he plans to be out there for about seven months.
Clinton Pryor’s shoes are wearing up well after six days on the road – he plans to be out there for about seven months.
Ryan Emery

“Other than that … I worked all my life until I retired yet they still put Aboriginal people down.

“You could say that about a hell of a lot of white people too: they live on the dole, they surf and whatever else, but they don't get judged."

The 66-year-old said he was not sure a treaty would resolve matters.

He said other nation’s first peoples did not seem to have benefited from reaching treaties such as in Canada and New Zealand.

Mr Pryor said he would grow his beard and hair during the journey and wear traditional dress when he went to Parliament House.

He said his elders had told him that was how he must present himself to the Prime Minister.

The journey is expected to take seven months.

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