There could be no Treaty with out fact.
This easy however highly effective assertion is the explanation for the Yoo-rrook Justice Fee’s mandate to disclose, report and analyse the systemic injustices skilled by Victorian First Peoples since colonisation.
Named from a Wamba Wamba phrase that means fact, the Yoo-rrook mandate will take three years from 2021-24. This can be a vital step for truth-telling in Victoria.
Fact-telling commissions are formal our bodies tasked with discovering and revealing previous wrongdoings within the hope of resolving battle and repairing relationships.
Victoria’s truth-telling fee: to maneuver ahead, we have to reply for the legacies of colonisation
Yoo-rrook’s strategic imaginative and prescient is for a remodeled Victoria. A Victoria based mostly on fact and justice, grounded in First Peoples’ enduring spirit, cultures and self-determination.
As some other royal fee, Yoo-rrook may have broad powers to carry public hearings, compel proof and make suggestions to the Victorian authorities as to what ought to change.
The fee’s letters patent is the authorized doc from the governor-general establishing the Yoo-rrok’s royal fee. This doc basically offers directions to Yoo-rrook about learn how to inquire into the expertise of previous and current systemic injustices for Victorian First Peoples.
The letters patent particulars a wide-ranging set of obligations that may be summarised as:
establishing an official report of the influence of systemic injustice on the First Peoples of Victoria from colonisation to the current
growing a shared perceive amongst all Victorians on the influence of those systemic injustices, in addition to the variety, power and resilience of First Peoples
figuring out the causes and penalties of systemic injustice and make suggestions for system reform and modifications to legal guidelines, coverage and training.
The fee’s findings additionally purpose to help the founding of a brand new relationship between First Peoples, the state, and the individuals of Victoria, inclusive of informing Treaty negotiations.
Institution of the Yoo-rrook Justice Fee
An historic first for Australia, a truth-telling fee was an agreed motion of the Victorian authorities and the First Peoples’ Meeting of Victoria.
The First Peoples’ Meeting was established in 2019 and is the elected consultant physique of Conventional House owners and different Victorian Aboriginal individuals.
This can be a essential step within the realisation of the Advancing the Treaty Course of with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018.
Yoo-rrook started in Might with the appointment of 5 commissioners. Independently chosen from 64 candidates, we’re:
Chairperson: Professor Eleanor Bourke (Wergaia/Wamba Wamba)
Dr Wayne Atkinson (Yorta Yorta/Dja Dja Wurrung)
Sue-Anne Hunter (Wurundjeri/Ngurai illum wurrung)
Distinguished Professor Maggie Walter (Palawa)
Professor the Honourable Kevin Bell AM QC (non-Indigenous)
Yoo-rrook employs a human rights framework aligned to the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. To make sure the precedence of First Peoples’ voices and information, this framework is enacted by a technique that weaves collectively First Peoples information techniques, worldviews and Western strategies of scientific evaluation. This technique ensures an method that respects Victorian First Peoples values and tradition.
The fee’s phrases of reference are intensive.
The directions to inquire into historic systemic injustices perpetrated in opposition to First Peoples embody (amongst different areas):
cultural violations, akin to denial of First Peoples’ legislation and lore by colonial state authorities and techniques
theft and misappropriation of land and tradition
dispossession and displacement of Aboriginal peoples, households and kids
massacres, wars and killings
unfair insurance policies and practices in areas akin to labour, the justice system, little one safety and welfare, and well being care
The findings of the royal fee’s inquiry into these areas would be the foundation for the official report, and extra particulars will come.
Precedence #1: Sovereignty over information
Yoo-rrook is the primary Aboriginal-led royal fee. It’s also the primary during which the foundational proof is First Peoples voices, tales and knowledges. The fee has now decided 4 strategic priorities for its first 12 months.
To maximise participation, Yoo-rrook’s first strategic precedence has been to construct sturdy foundations to result in belief that First Peoples’ voices will likely be heard, and the fee’s processes are performed in a culturally applicable manner.
Regardless of the COVID-19 lockdowns of the final six months, the commissioners and fee employees have consulted (principally on-line) with Conventional Proprietor teams and plenty of Aboriginal community-controlled organisations throughout Victoria.
Yoo-rrook is instructed to uphold the sovereignty of First Peoples over their information and tales. This will likely be accomplished by the Indigenous knowledge sovereignty ideas, which is the precise of First Peoples to personal, management, entry and possess their respective knowledge.
This implies the First Peoples who present proof to Yoo-rrook will preserve possession of their respective knowledge, figuring out how their data is handled almost about confidentiality and accessibility.
That is vital as a result of with previous royal commissions, proof has been accessible to the general public. This isn’t at all times in First Peoples’ greatest curiosity.
Precedence #2: Culturally applicable methods of amassing proof
Yoo-rrook’s second strategic precedence is to give attention to formal proof assortment from Elders and people who are unwell.
The fee is conscious about First Peoples unease towards formal processes akin to these. So, culturally secure techniques have been developed.
For instance, the fee is accepting proof in relation to the expertise of historic and ongoing systemic injustice in a myriad of the way. These embody particular person witness statements, group testimony and testimony by cultural means, akin to ceremony, dance and artwork. Proof will also be given confidentially and on Nation, with ongoing help for social and emotional wellbeing in place.
Precedence #3: Making a public report of systemic injustice
The third strategic precedence is to develop a complete image of systemic injustices in opposition to First Peoples as a part of the official report of what occurred in Victoria.
This will likely be accomplished by way of the compilation and interrogation of current information sources. This work has begun with the gathering of official information, educational research and legislative supplies.
Precedence #4: Reviewing the legal justice system
The fourth precedence is to evaluation present reform processes in legal justice and legislation enforcement.
This may start with First Peoples’ experiences with these techniques and an examination of the implementation of Royal Fee into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody’s suggestions in Victoria.
Setting a worldwide precedent
The duty of the Yoo-rrook Justice Fee is intimidating and the timeframe is brief. Yoo-rrook is required to ship an interim report in June 2022 and a last report in June 2024.
It’s the solely truth-telling fee anyplace authorised to scrutinise First Peoples’ experiences of systemic injustices, previous and current, arising from colonisation.
That Yoo-rrook has been initiated in Victoria ought to be a matter of delight for all Victorians. The fee is setting a nationwide and world precedent. As a result of Yoo-rrook is the primary, it assuredly is not going to be the final.
The world is watching.
If you’re involved in reaching out to the fee, you are able to do so right here.
Maggie Walter is a Commissioner with the Yoo-rrook Justice Fee and in addition Distinguished Professor of Sociology (adjunct) College of Tasmania and receives funding from the Australian Analysis Council, the Nationwide Well being and Medical Analysis Council and the Minderoo Basis
Professor the Hon Kevin Bell AM QC can also be the Government Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Legislation within the College of Legislation at Monash College.
Eleanor Bourke, Sue-Anne Hunter, and Wayne Atkinson don’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that will profit from this text, and have disclosed no related affiliations past their educational appointment.