Last night, Victoria became the first state or territory to pass a treaty bill with The Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Bill 2018. It will see the election of a representative body by mid-2019 that will design a treaty negotiation framework to ratify agreements with the Indigenous community. The bill was developed over several years, and in consultation with over 7500 Indigenous Victorians. Explaining the impact of the treaty, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Natalie Hutchins said it will "have benefits for all Victorians—promoting reconciliation, fostering shared pride in Aboriginal culture and helping to heal the wounds of the past”.
Speaking to the chamber, leader of the government in the Legislative Council Gavin Jennings reflected on the event saying: “There is unfinished business in this nation of addressing those matters that should never have come to be.” He added that the motivation was to “create a safe space in the first instance for Aboriginal people to determine the way in which we would right the wrongs of the past and deliver justice.”
The bill will go to the Legislative Assembly next month when parliament resumes.