The Aboriginal body planned to negotiate Victoria’s path to treaties is taking shape. Here’s what you need to know.
- It’s proposed the representative body will be made up of 28 members. Seventeen will be elected at an Aboriginal election next year. The other 11 will represent Victoria’s 11 formally recognised traditional owner groups which will each be allocated a seat at the table. There will be room to grow as the number of traditional owner groups increases.
- The body will not negotiate treaty, but will work with the government to set up the framework for a treaty process. It’s proposed that the representative body will be a company limited by guarantee, meaning it will be independent of government and not governed by the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006.
- An elders’ group, whose form is yet to be determined, will sit at the core of the representative body for cultural strength and integrity. Within the representative body, an executive, or inner circle, of seven to nine members led by a chair will implement the group’s decisions and set the agenda.
- Victoria will be divided into six voting regions, which will loosely follow local government boundaries. Candidates will be able to choose whether to run in the voting region they live in or the voting region which covers their traditional country. It is proposed representatives will be elected for a three-year term.
- All Aboriginal people 16 years and over and living in Victoria will be able to vote in the election, expected to be held mid next year.
- It’s proposed 40 to 50 percent of seats on the representative body will go to female or non-male identifying candidates. If the quota is not met, an unsuccessful female candidate with the highest number of votes will be elected in place of a successful male candidate with the lowest number of votes. The gender quota is proposed for elected seats only, not reserved seats.
The proposal is open for public feedback until October 28. Call the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission on 1800 TREATY or respond online at www.victreatyadvancement.org.au/feedback.
By Wendy Caccetta