The Premier’s move to require a Parliamentary Committee to examine Constitutional Recognition of Tasmanian Aboriginals does not go far enough and is a missed opportunity, Greens Leader and Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.
“If the Parliament is going to focus on addressing the wrongs perpetrated upon Aboriginal Tasmanians, as it should do, then it should invest that time and energy into examining mechanisms that will deliver real change and equality,” Mr Booth said.
“Limiting the proposed Parliamentary Committee to only the matter of constitutional recognition is a missed opportunity, and we are calling on the Premier to expand his proposed terms of reference in consultation with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community to ensure it reflects their reform priorities.”
“In my discussions with Tasmanian Aboriginal leaders they are abundantly clear that the way forward is for some form of negotiated Treaty with meaningful outcomes including land hand-backs, and health, education, economic and governance reforms.”
“While we welcome the Premier’s undertaking to “reset the relationship” with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community, he does not appear to know how to go about doing that.”
“The fundamental first step is to enter into good faith negotiations and hear what their priorities may be.”
“Instead it appears the current conversation between the government and the Aboriginal community is a little one-sided, with the Premier telling the community what the priorities are for this new relationship.”
“Senior representatives of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community have made it very clear that they do not consider recognition under the State’s Constitution Act to be a priority if it does not deliver real and meaningful reforms including land rights.”
“The Greens will continue to work with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community and will consult over the Premier’s proposed Parliamentary Committee terms of reference,” Mr Booth said.