Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney has given the strongest indication yet that a truth and treaty process is in the works.
- Linda Burney is in Arnhem Land for the Garma Festival
- The government has announced a question it intends to ask at a referendum to create an Indigenous Voice to Parliament
- Ms Burney says the government is committed to all three parts of the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart, including a truth and treaty process
Speaking at the Garma Festival in north-east Arnhem Land, Ms Burney said the public should not forget that the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart was not only about a referendum.
“So many parts of this country [are] deciding how they’re going to explore the truth,” she said.
“When we think about the effect that a national truth-telling process would have on Australia, it’s remarkable.
“One of the things that we’re thinking about at the moment is what form that would take.”
“I see this as, you know, a thousand flowers blooming.
“The Uluru Statement talks about three things: It talks about an enshrined Voice in the Constitution, but it also talks about the establishment of a Makarrata commission that would have two jobs — treaty and agreement-making, and also truth-telling,” she said.
Ms Burney said she was “thrilled” with the progress that has been made with the announcement of the proposed question and constitutional changes.
“The Prime Minister was very clear that we will embrace and implement the Uluru Statement in full,” she said.
“We will not be rushed. We will do it in consultation. We will build consensus and part of that is truth-telling.”
Individual truth-telling processes are underway in several states and communities.
Ms Burney said there were excellent examples and frameworks already evident that a Makarrata could be modeled on.
“The best example that I can think of is what has happened at Myall Creek in north-western New South Wales,” Ms Burney said.
“Descendants of those [who] did the massacring, and descendants of those that were massacred, have come together to create a memorial.
“That has meant, for the Gwydir Shire, [it] has been healing and coming to terms with a terrible event of the past.
“It’s not about apportioning guilt. It’s not about blame. It’s about that we all can share in the whole story of this country.”