Queensland moves closer to an Indigenous voice to parliament

Queensland has taken a step towards creating a state-based Indigenous voice to parliament with the Palaszczuk government announcing a First Nations committee that will explore a new body and inform a national Indigenous voice.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships minister Craig Crawford said eight people will be on the consultative committee, drawn from every region of the state.

Saibai Koedal woman Talei Elu, 29, from the Torres Strait Island community of Seisia on the western tip of the Cape York peninsula, was among those picked after an expression of interest process.

“I really want to make sure my community members know that it doesn’t matter if you come from a small, Indígena, remote community … you can be involved in such a big process like this, a really important process for the state and then, además, nationally,” Elu said.

The independent committee will be in place for one year.

Elu said that period would shape what the state’s voice would look like and what it would mean in practice.

“That’s the beautiful thing about co-design – it’s going to be up to the communities," ella dijo. “The process in the next 12 months is to find that out, to make sure we get their views reflected in this process.”

Crawford said the formation of the committee marked a historic step towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders having a greater say in decisions about their lives, communities and future.

“This is about giving voice to the people. It involves them working with and listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the state," él dijo.

“We also need to make sure non-Indigenous Queenslanders are part of this incredible momentum we have across Australia as we work towards: Voice, Treaty and Truth.”

En 2017, the Uluru Statement From the Heart called for a First Nations Voice to parliament enshrined in the constitution and the establishment of a Makarrata Commission for treaty making and truth-telling.

El primer ministro, Anthony Albanese, committed to those two separate processes in his first words upon declaring victory in May’s federal election.

Albanese has promised the new Labor government will prioritise a referendum on an Indigenous voice to parliament – which was the central recommendation of the Uluru statement from the heart – and pursue constitutional recognition for First Nations people in its first three years.

The Injilinji Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation’s aged care chief executive, Patricia Lees, western Yalanji man Terry O’Shane, Arrernte descendant Karen Dini-Paul, Bindal traditional owner Edward Smallwood, Mithaka traditional owner Joshua Gorringe, Maradigan traditional owner Kerry Crumblin and Quandamooka man Cameron Costello were also named on the committee.

The committee will present its advice to government in a report due in 2023.

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