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Gutwein Must Step Up in National Reconciliation Week

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Friday, 29 May 2020

Tags: Tasmanian Aboriginals, Aboriginal Heritage, Reconciliation, takayna / Tarkine

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson

On National Reconciliation Week, the Greens recognise the palawa/pakana as the original owners of lutruwita/Tasmania and acknowledge true reconciliation with a people so grievously robbed of their country remains a distant goal. 

We urge Premier Gutwein to act, where his predecessor didn’t, to deliver genuine reconciliation outcomes for this island's first people. 

After six years in government, no real progress has been made on returning land to Tasmanian Aboriginal people, despite the previous Premier’s commitment to ‘reset the relationship’. 

Instead, the Liberals in government push their plan through the courts to destroy thousands of years of Aboriginal heritage on the takayna tracks. 

This division and disrespect must be left behind. It’s time the Tasmanian Parliament recognised the formal agreement struck between Tasmanian Aboriginal leaders and the colonial government in 1831, and progressed a Treaty with lutruwita's first people. 

If we are to move forward in the spirit of reconciliation, it must also mean Aboriginal representatives in Parliament. 

We urge the Premier to consider ways of giving Tasmania’s original owners a say in shaping our laws and policy directly in Parliament; a key recommendation of the recent inquiry in to restoring the numbers in the House of Assembly. 

For Aboriginal Australians, the 26th of January is a day of enduring pain – when their ancestors were raped and murdered, and their children taken away. It was the day they lost their country. 

We hope Premier Gutwein will retain the strength he has shown in standing up to his Federal colleagues during the pandemic response and call on them to change the date of our national day.