Treaty Process Update With Jill Gallagher – June 2018
Charles joins Commissioner Jill Gallagher at the Commission’s offices
Enabling. Not negotiating.
There’s still some aspects out there in the community that basically believe my role is to negotiate a treaty. When incorrect information is out there it makes it more difficult.Jill Gallagher, AO
The Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner, Jill Gallagher, AO, talks openly to Charles about her role in the Treaty process, the forthcoming election of an Aboriginal representative body and the all-important roadshows that seek frank consultation with community.
by Charles Pakana
“Put simply, my role is to establish a fully elected Aboriginal representative body that consists of Traditional Owners from Victoria.” These were the words spoken by the Commissioner when asked about her primary role in the Victorian Aboriginal Treaty process.
“There’s still some aspects out there in the community that basically believe my role is to negotiate a treaty. When incorrect information is out there it makes it more difficult,” she continued.
With a primary focus on communicating with communities – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – throughout Victoria, the Commissioner has embarked upon a series of “roadshows”. During the roadshows, she is meeting with community members, politicians and Traditional Owners to discuss the Treaty process and establishment of the Aboriginal Representative body.
“It’s very important that we maintain these conversations,” she stated. “The focus is on community engagement.”
When asked to comment on the recent setback to Treaty negotiations in South Australia following the recent change in Government in that State, the Commissioner expressed disappointment. “I believe [though] that the political parties in Victoria will do the right thing.”
Then, on the issue of the proposed amendments to The Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Bill 2018, the Commissioner responded by saying: “…they [the Greens] are entitled to that. In relation to the Council of Elders, that’s something the working group and commission have been exploring for two years.”