The Treaty Scroll
The Treaty Scroll campaign is a petition to government to oppose the structural and legal frameworks that deny Indigenous Australians political and legal recognition. The Treaty Scroll campaign connects with an unresolved national
issue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations.
Since 1979 Australians have been campaigning government to recognise the importance of Indigenous groups as the First Peoples. The Treaty Scroll campaign is ANTaR Victoria’s response to this nation-wide desire which seeks to implement structural change, providing long-term impacts and profound improvements to Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations. The principles of the Treaty Scroll campaign are to gain recognition from the Victorian Government of the importance of Indigenous Peoples as the First Peoples, a desire for the maintenance of Indigenous language and cultural integrity, and the recognition of the right of Indigenous Peoples at self-determination. These issues are of fundamental importance if the State Government is serious in Closing the Gap and achieving Reconciliation.
Treaty Scroll Campaign
In 2005, the people of regional and urban Victoria began expressing their desire for the Victorian government to recognise the importance of maintaining the culture and language of Indigenous peoples. The scroll is passed between schools, ANTaR affiliated or community-based groups and organisations in order to achieve our aim of two thousand thumbprints. The Treaty Scroll has travelled throughout regional Victoria, and has travelled as far as France. In 2009, the scroll had collected as many as 600 thumbprints, however many more are needed if we are to achieve recognitions of Indigenous peoples. Upon collection of the two thousand thumbprints, the scroll will be presented to the State Parliament, and later, be displayed as an artwork, representing the depth of Victorians’ desire for Reconciliation.
Why is a Treaty Important?
A treaty is fundamental to long-term strategies in social and economic progresses required a state and national levels. The limited recognition of Indigenous rights within current political and legal jurisdiction points to a treaty as the next step in securing these rights. Currently, Australia is the only colonised country without legal and political recognition of its First Peoples.
A treaty is required to form the basis for respectful and honourable relationships between Government, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. In 2000, the Council on Aboriginal Reconciliation came up with a Declaration Towards Reconciliation, and made clear indications that a treaty process was the next step to authentic reconciliation. While this was rejected by the Howard Government, meanwhile this Declaration is still a benchmark for a community consensus on the need for and the form of the resolution of 'unfinished business'.
A treaty can only be realistic and effective if systems of negotiation are in place. This means, an effective treaty requires a commitment by governments to commit time, converse and engage with Indigenous group leaders. The provision of time, effort and funding will demonstrate a genuine desire of our governments in resolving ‘unfinished business’. Real progress comes from a commitment to negotiating and paying attention to the needs and aspirations of Indigenous people. A treaty must reflect this.
For more information on why a treaty is important and what it should contain, see the Treaty Factsheet.