• Do you "Support treaty? Don't support treaty? Unsure about treaty?" Those are the questions discussed today at the Aboriginal Victoria Forum. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
The Aboriginal Victoria Forum talks kick-off in Melbourne on Tuesday to build a pathway towards a Treaty between the state and First Australians.
By
Rachael Hocking

Source:
NITV News
13 Dec 2016 - 10:01 AM  UPDATED 13 Dec 2016 - 10:02 AM

Victoria’s Aboriginal community will gather at the Melbourne Convention Centre to breakdown the last six months of community consultations, and nut out what a Treaty could look like.

Victoria's Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Natalie Hutchins, said the Aboriginal Treaty Interim Working Group has been developing options based on community responses, but no outcomes have been determined.

The working group is made up of Traditional Owners, representatives from Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and youth. 

The forum will be hosted by Gamillario/Torres Strait Islander broadcaster, writer and actor Nakkiah Lui.

The event includes an International Treaty Panel on Representation, comprised of a group of First Nations academics: Carwyn Jones, a New Zealand Maori of Ngati Kahungunu descent and a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Victoria University of Wellington; Celeste Haldane, Acting Chief Commissioner of the BC Treaty Commission, and Mark McMillan, a Wiradjuri man from Trangie, NSW and an Associate Professor at Melbourne Law School.

The forum will be streamed online and there are also other options available for people in remote areas to follow the conversation.

Ideas and reactions will be discussed on social media using the Twitter hashtags #selfdeterminationvic and #victreaty.

The Victorian government says a Treaty with the state's Aboriginal communities could recognise Indigenous people's history and prior occupation of the land, while also addressing injustices that have taken place.

According to the Victorian government’s factsheet, a Treaty is an agreement made between Indigenous peoples and governments. Even though they are not international agreements in equal stead to ones between countries, “they are still documents of considerable legal and moral force.”

“Aboriginal people must first agree on the purpose of a treaty before deciding if and how to make one, and what it should contain. Since there is no history of treaty- making in Australia, Victorians have a unique opportunity to craft their own treaty suited to their needs and desires, and their own concepts of justice,” the factsheet reads.

Talks over the Victoria Treaty were triggered back in May, when Victoria's Indigenous Affairs Minister, Natalie Hutchins, met 500 Indigenous representatives, including students, activists, community leaders, academics and others interested in the idea of a Treaty.  

The 'Treaty and Self-Determination Forum' was originally called to look at Constitutional recognition, but by the meeting's end a motion was passed that Victoria would aim to have a Treaty in place by December 2016.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC
Explainer: What is a treaty?
A look at what a treaty is and how the adoption of a treaty might change the political landscape for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Stan Grant: Without a treaty and constitutional recognition, no Australian is truly free
COMMENT | I agree with Bill Shorten and Patrick Dodson that we can have both a treaty and recognition. It speaks to the full scope and imagination of our country.