Interview

The Federation Speaks Out Against Greens’ Proposed Amendments

CEO of the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations Marcus Stewart (left)

“We can’t turn our backs…”

It’s our view that there have been 7,000 plus Aboriginal Victorians consulted on this treaty process… We can’t turn our backs on those 7,000 people.”

Marcus Stewart

Chief Executive Officer, Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations

The Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations Speaks Against The Greens’ Proposed Treaty Legislation Amendments

by Charles Pakana

On the 11th of May this year, the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations (FVTOC) responded in writing to Greens MP Lidia Thorpe, regarding proposed amendments to the Advancing Treaty with Aboriginal Victorians Legislation Bill 2018.

According to Marcus Stewart, FVTOC Chief Executive Officer, the Federation considered that the proposed amendments did not fit in line with the United Nations Declaration of Rights for Indigenous Peoples. “A lot of the amendments were not upholding the principles of that Declaration,” he said.

Mr. Stewart went on to say that if there is a model that the Greens are proposing then they put it forward to the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner, Jill Gallagher, and to the ‘mob’ as well to see if it gains wide support.

“It’s our view that there have been 7,000 plus Aboriginal Victorians consulted on this [current] treaty process,” Mr Stewart said. “We can’t turn our back on those 7,000 people.”

In commenting further on the Greens’ proposed amendments, Mr Stewart said: “The bill is only a process towards treaty… The challenge we have with these amendments is that they’re [the Greens] trying to determine what a treaty will be.”

Mr Stewart stated that the Federation supports the bill as it stands, believing that it provides a process to continue the treaty process with Aboriginal Victorians and Traditional Owners.

When asked about the amendments’ focus on clans, he said: “We don’t believe that Traditional Owners should turn themselves inside out again as Aboriginal People.

“We don’t need to go back and do it all over again.”

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