The Victorian Parliament will take another important step in recognising Aboriginal Victorians today, with an official ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ to take place before proceedings get underway.
Normally reserved for special occasions, The ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ will now take place on the first day of every sitting week of the Victorian Parliament for the first time in history.
The Acknowledgement takes the following form:
"We acknowledge the Traditional Aboriginal Owners of the land on which we are meeting.
We pay our respects to them, their culture, their Elders past, present and future, and Elders from other communities who may be here today."
This initiative follows on from last September’s decision to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag over Parliament House.
Paying respect to Traditional Owners and acknowledging Aboriginal peoples’ deep and continuous connection to the land demonstrates the Victorian Parliament’s respect for Victoria’s Aboriginal community.
These symbolic acts are an important step for equal and open dialogue with Aboriginal Victorians – dialogue that is essential to Aboriginal self-determination.
They build upon the considerable progress that has also been made to legally recognise Traditional Owners over the past decade through both the Aboriginal Heritage Act and the Traditional Owner Settlement Act.
They also support the Government’s initiative to establish a new engagement framework with Aboriginal leaders to inform policy priorities and action.
Traditional Owners from the land on which Parliament stands have been invited to witness the event and will meet with the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins following the sitting.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins
"Parliament’s Acknowledgement of Country marks a new chapter in the Victorian Government’s relationship with the Victorian Aboriginal community."
"The Acknowledgement and the flying of the Aboriginal flag over Parliament House are more than symbolic - they are very tangible steps towards self-determination for Victorian Aboriginal communities."
"Recognition of Aboriginal people’s traditional relationships to country is opening up new opportunities to revive and restore cultural knowledge and to re-establish connections to country."
Reviewed 19 August 2020