As Debate On The Voice Rages, Victoria Has Another Solution

Did you know Victoria has just voted in their own body similar to that proposed of the national Voice called the First People’s Assembly of Victoria?

The First People’s Assembly of Victoria is a group of representative Indigenous Victorians negotiating with the state’s government on First Nations Peoples issues in Victoria.

It does sound like the Voice Referendum the Federal parliament has just this week voted on the legislation for which Australians will vote in within the next six months, right?

In today’s episode of The Briefing, Rueben Berg from the First People’s Assembly of Victoria joins us to explain the importance of state-based bodies and Voice vs Treaty.

Berg says the representative body being pushed in Victoria is a “stronger version” of the Voice.

“I’d say it’s similar in that it’s a representative body that’s able to have conversations directly with the parliament and with the executive as well,” Berg said on The Briefing.

But our aspirations are that the assembly will be able to have actual decision making power as part of the Treaty negotiations.

“And the framework we’ve already agreed to with government does set out the idea that there could be decision making powers handed out. So, in that way, it’s kind of a stronger version of the voice that we’re trying to push for here in Victoria.”

Berg says if Australia votes “Yes” to a Voice to Parliament, he and the First People’s Assembly of Victoria hopes the two bodies will coincide with a “really strong relationship”.

If the Voice is voted in, it details it will respect existing groups and allow different regions to use their own processes for selecting representatives.

Voice vs Treaty

The Voice vs Treaty is the fundamental difference between the assembly instilled in Victoria’s parliament to the Voice which could potentially become a part of Federal parliament.

“My understanding is that the Uluru Statement has Voice, Treaty, Truth and that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has committed to all three aspects of that,” Berg detailed.

“But as we’ve demonstrated here in Victoria, before you can just go and negotiate a Treaty, you need to have a collective voice of First Peoples who are going to be there at the table to have that negotiation.

“I don’t really think you can progress to Treaty without some form of collective voice; a way of bringing together First Peoples to have that discussion. Once we have a Voice, that will then enable that conversation to progress to the next phase, which is Treaty.”

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