• Message Stick Walker Alwyn Doolan will continue on his journey without passing on his message sticks to the Australian Prime Minister (Ryan Jasper Walsh)Source: Ryan Jasper Walsh
First Nations Walker Alwyn Doolan decides to leave Canberra - still carrying the message stick he travelled 8,500 kilometres to hand to the PM.
Shahni Wellington

16 Aug 2019 - 1:54 PM  UPDATED 21 Aug 2019 - 3:43 PM

After his 8,500 kilometre journey, Gooreng Gooreng and Wakka Wakka man Alywin Doolan hoped in good faith that he would pass on his message sticks to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Unfortunately, his open invitation for the PM to meet with him was declined.

For 12 months, Alwyn Doolan walked from Cape York in Queensland to Parliament House in Canberra, with the intention to deliver a message to the federal government on reconciliation.

The Message Stick Walker arrived in Canberra in May this year, and put in requests to meet with the Prime Minister on two different occasions.
This included the opening of the 46th Parliament in July, where multiple Senators and the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, agreed to welcome Mr Doolan.
The Prime Minister's Office declined those meetings and also declined to comment in regards to why a meeting was not possible.

Today marks the end of Mr Doolan's stopover in the nation's capital and he will now continue on the next leg of his Message Stick Walk.

In a statement, Mr Doolan said “It’s disappointing the Prime Minister is all talk about us walking together, towards reconciliation, towards equal opportunities."

"When it came down to a meeting he wasn’t keen to hear what the communities I walked through had to say.”

Mr Doolan will move onto Woorabinda, walking another 1,500km with three message sticks still in tow.

They represent the creation, colonisation and healing of Australia - which he had hoped could represent a new partnership between the federal government and Indigenous people.

Mr Doolan said he wanted those message sticks to deepen discussions on Indigenous recognition, including the shape of a possible Voice to Parliament - as recommended by 250 Aboriginal delegates in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“More work is needed to prepare Parliamentarians and the people for the referendum we must have for a strong Voice that is constitutionally protected.” Mr Doolan said.
He said he believed the priority needs to be a national treaty, before the co-design process of a national Voice can be effective.
“The first law we must observe of First Nations Peoples is that no one Country can speak for any other, so to ensure our Free and Prior Informed Consent in this process, we must all be given an equal opportunity to have a say," Mr Doolan said.
The office of the PM declined to comment on the matter when contacted by NITV News. 

Story still heard by multiple politicians

Despite not meeting with the PM, the story of the Message Walker was still heard by the nation's representatives.

Mr Doolan was welcomed at the Opening of the 46th Federal Parliament and met with Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt, as well as Senator Pat Dodson, Senator Rachel Siewert, Julian Leeser MP and Linda Burney MP about the future of a Voice.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is currently in the Pacific nation of Tuvalu for this year's Pacific Islands Forum, with climate crisis the focus of the agenda.

- This article was updated on 21 August to include the response from the PM's office and provide clarity around the timing of the PMs decision not to meet with Mr Doolan

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