Aboriginal Victorians have been clear and consistent in their call for truth-telling as an essential part of the treaty process. In particular, the Assembly formally called for a truth and justice process through a resolution of its Chamber in June 2020.
In response to this call, the government committed to working in partnership with the Assembly to establish a formal truth and justice process to reckon with injustices perpetrated against Aboriginal Victorians. This commitment reaffirms Victoria’s leadership in Aboriginal affairs, making Victoria the first and only Australian jurisdiction to action the ‘treaty’ and ‘truth’ elements of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The government and the Assembly will work in partnership to develop terms of reference for a truth and justice process. The terms of reference will set out the form, purpose, scope and operations of the process, which will reflect Victoria’s unique history, institutions and cultures. Partnering with the Assembly will ensure that the voices of Aboriginal Victorians drive its development.
The development of a truth and justice process will occur in parallel to Victoria’s treaty process, ensuring the momentum of the treaty process is maintained and is underpinned by a commitment to truth and justice. A treaty or treaties in Victoria can help heal the wounds of the past, provide recognition for historic wrongs, address ongoing injustices, support reconciliation and promote the fundamental human rights of Aboriginal peoples. A truth and justice process can support the treaty process to deliver these aspirations.
A truth and justice process will also be an opportunity for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victorians to acknowledge our shared history and lay the foundations for new relationships. By acknowledging the truth of our shared history, we can develop a shared commitment to our future as Victorians. In this way, a truth and justice process can support the treaty process to deliver our collective ambitions for the benefit of all Victorians.
Reviewed 05 October 2020