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Senator Dorinda Cox and other prominent Australians launch campaign for Truth-telling commission in WA

Giovanni Torre -

Yamatji-Noongar woman and WA Greens Senator Dorinda Cox launches a new campaign and video Wednesday featuring eminent Australians calling for the establishment of a truth-telling justice commission in Western Australia.

Senator Cox noted that Truth-telling, along with Treaty making and a constitutionally-enshrined Voice to Parliament, are the requests of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Senator and WA upper house MP Dr Brad Pettitt have written to WA Premier Mark McGowan to request his commitment for a truth-telling commission modelled on Victoria's Yoorrook Justice Commission.

Speaking before the launch of the campaign, Senator Cox told National Indigenous Times the campaign would also reach out to local governments, particularly those with Reconciliation Action Plans.

She noted that truth-telling is a complementary process to the establishment of a Voice to parliament, "not one in competition".

"The more people are informed about the history of WA the more people will want to hear First Nations voices at every level of government," she said.

The senator told National Indigenous Times truth-telling was vital to addressing the ongoing ramifications of colonialism, including over-incarceration and deaths in custody.

In a formal statement to be launched Wednesday, Senator Cox said that with the support of WA community members, she is calling on the WA government to "follow the lead of their state and territory counterparts in advancing Makarrata in the form of a truth-telling commission".

"Truth-telling is an opportunity for First Nations people to share their stories, experiences and truth. It's also an opportunity for non-First Nations people to enrich their understanding of our shared history. Truth-telling can be a unifying, healing and positive force for our whole community," she said.

"I invited other Western Australians to share their thoughts on why truth-telling is important to them. I created this video that we're releasing today, so that you can hear them speak their truth directly.

"Through truth-telling and truth-listening we can begin to face the traumas of the past and take a step towards meaningful reconciliation and progress on issues affecting the lives of First Nations people here in WA and across the country."

A State Government spokesperson told National Indigenous Times that Truth-telling is "an important part of the McGowan Government's approach to engaging and delivering programs and projects with Aboriginal people and communities".

"This is evidenced in WA's Aboriginal Empowerment Strategy. There are already a number of truth-telling processes underway in Western Australia which are led by Aboriginal people in partnership with government, including the Wadjemup Project and the planned Aboriginal Cultural Centre," he said.

"The Wadjemup Project, which focuses on Rottnest's history as a penal facility, is one of Australia's first large-scale acts of reconciliation and truth-telling and highlights this State's commitment to embedding the voices and experiences of Aboriginal people in the State's history.

"Other truth-telling projects are detailed in WA Government's Closing the Gap Implementation Plan."


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