Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson
In a rare show of unanimity, the House of Assembly has supported a Greens’ Motion to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag over Parliament.
It’s a symbolic, but significant, gesture by the Parliament towards a proud people whose connection to this island, lutruwita, dates back 60 000 or more years. Their country was stolen from them at the point of a gun, their people dispossessed and banished to Wybalena, their ongoing survival was denied, their people marginalised. And yet, the culture and identity of the palawa pakana people endures and grows stronger.
We are thankful all Lower House members understood the obligation to respect lutruwita’s First People and supported the Greens’ move for the Tasmanian Parliament to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag.
This follows Clarence City and Northern Midlands councils who have agreed to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag outside their chambers.
Progress on justice for lutruwita/Tasmania’s First People has been slow.
Aboriginal heritage protection is still often treated as an afterthought, or worse ignored. Aboriginal Tasmanians are incarcerated at a disproportionate rate. Aboriginal children are being let down by our child safety system. Land returns have stalled. And we don’t have a treaty, or dedicated seats for the palawa/pakana people in Parliament.
Every Member of Parliament knows there’s much more to do to achieve justice for lutruwita/Tasmania’s First People. Flying the flag here won’t solve these critical issues, but it will be an important step forward for recognition and respect.