Aboriginal assembly path open
A dedicated electoral roll has opened for Aboriginal Victorians to help guide future treaty negotiations.
Enrolments to vote on the First Peoples' Assembly are now open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 16 or above who live in Victoria and have done so for at least three of the past five years, or are a traditional owner in Victoria but live interstate.
Treaty Advancement Commissioner Jill Gallagher launched the registrations at the Koori Youth Summit at Bacchus Marsh in an effort to get as many young people involved as possible.
“The community felt it was important that youth play a major role in whatever we design and go forward because it will probably be them that will be negotiating treaties,” Ms Gallagher said.
It will be the first time some on the list will have enrolled to vote, and Ms Gallagher assured those involved that the roll would be completely separate from government electoral commissions.
“It's an electoral roll that we're starting from scratch and it will be maintained and protected once the assembly is elected, by the assembly,” Ms Gallagher told reporters.
Enrolment requirements include photo identification with date of birth.
The First People's Assembly will replace the state’s Treaty Advancement Commission, working with the state government to prepare for negotiations, including setting ground rules.
Online voting will be possible, as well as in person or by post.
“Aboriginal people have been ahead of the times for a long time so I think it's great that we're showing the way to the rest of the country that it can be done,” Ms Gallagher said.
Treaty process will be featured in this year's ‘Dreamtime at the G’ AFL game on May 25, with both Richmond and Essendon football clubs featuring Treaty for Victoria on their jerseys.
The timeline for the First Peoples’ Assembly process is as follows;
- May 10 - enrolment opens
- May 27 - candidate nominations open
- June (date TBC) - candidate nominations close
- July 8 - voting opens
- July 21 - voting closes
- August - results released
Registered voters will elect 21 members, with 12 seats allocated to each formally-recognised traditional owner group in Victoria.