Oct 9, 2020

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS – NAIDOC Week – Monday, 9 November 2020

Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the Opposition) (13:33): We would normally have been marking NAIDOC Week in July, but, as with so many important events in this year of coronavirus, it has had to be adjusted. It is a year that has brought loss. But, increasingly, it is bringing victories. Among the successes has been the Indigenous health sector, which has done so much to keep this insidious virus from gaining a foothold in communities. It could have been a wave of devastation. Those health workers saw to it that that never happened, and I pay tribute to them.


That is a victory of the spirit of self-determination that illuminates the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Labor’s support for the Uluru statement, in all of its parts, is strong and committed. We support having the voice enshrined in our Constitution. It is no more than a modest but gracious request: that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples be consulted about issues and policies that directly affect them. The voice must be followed by truth-telling, because, until we acknowledge the reality of our history, we are shackled to its demons. And truth must be followed by a makarrata commission. Makarrata is about conflict resolution, justice and, crucially, self-determination. It’s a path to a national treaty that acknowledges the pre-existing rights of people in a land where sovereignty was never ceded and acknowledges that we are on what is Aboriginal land—always was, always will be.