Legislative Council: Wednesday, June 01, 2022



The Hon. S.G. WADE (14:59): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. In terms of the next steps on the journey of reconciliation in South Australia, I ask what is the priority of the Malinauskas government: an Aboriginal Voice to Parliament or Treaty, which comes first?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:00): I thank the honourable member for his question. It is indeed a very good question and there is not a unified, unambiguous view on this. This is something we will be consulting about and we have already started that consultation, not just with people in South Australia but around Australia. Certainly, many of those involved in the dialogue in the lead-up to the statement from Uluru, which was handed down I think five years ago last week, have sequencing as Voice as a first step, leading to a makarrata, including Treaty and Truth, but that is not a view that everyone who has thought and written about in this field subscribes to.

Certainly, I have had the good fortune of a number of discussions with many of those in Victoria. I think about six years ago, or thereabouts, the Victorian government started down the path of putting together firstly an advisory group and then an advisory body to start down their path of, initially, treaty discussions. That was similar to South Australia when we started. Our discussions about treaty were in the context of before the Uluru statement was handed down.

In the Victorian context, there is a First Peoples Assembly, an elected body of Aboriginal Victorians who represent views to government. It is not, as we described it, a voice to parliament, which is what is being looked at at the moment, but they are considering treaty negotiations as well as voice, effectively, at the same time. It is something that over the coming months we will look further at, but certainly the sequencing that many of those involved in the Uluru dialogues have had is Voice as a first step, followed by the makarrata, Treaty and Truth, but it is something that we will be taking further advice on as we go down this path. There is a good chance, like Victoria, that one isn't fully complete before the other necessarily starts.