The Liberal National party in Queensland recently made the decision, in the wake of the outcome of the voice vote, to withdraw its support for truth-telling and treaty processes. This decision is both a profound letdown and a grave error in judgment.
The obvious lane modification made by the LNP reveals them to be the political opportunists that they really are; they are willing to betray First Nations communities in order to win a vicious game of political brinkmanship.
Since July 2019, the state of Queensland has always support and been engaged in a transformative journey with its First Nations peoples toward truth, healing, and reconciliation.
This road, which was paved with the active participation of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents of Queensland, resulted in the passage of the Path to Treaty Act in May with support from both the Labor and the Liberal parties.
The act just initiates the process by setting it into motion. First Nations communities in Queensland will consult amongst themselves to determine the nature of any potential treaty, if any at all, that will most effectively meet their requirements before engaging in treaty negotiations with the state.
A treaty is an agreement that must be concluded by the two treaty partners, the state and the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander treaty party. This is the most fundamental level at which a treaty may be understood.
It ought to go without saying that there will be no treaty if a particular matter, such as compensation, cannot be agreed upon by both parties.
In addition, participation in the treaty is voluntary, and its duration is not predetermined. While some towns may try to start negotiations with the government as soon as possible, others may choose to wait and see what happens. It is envisaged that the treaties will, in the majority of instances, entrench the capacity of each community to have a say in the manner in which services are provided, the manner in which they govern themselves, and the manner in which they engage with the government.
The sharing of knowledge is given a substantial amount of importance in Queensland’s Path to Treaty. Because of this, the act also includes provisions for the establishment of a truth-telling and healing inquiry. The purpose of this investigation is to explore – and to hold up to the light of public scrutiny – the continuing repercussions that colonization has had on Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is intended to educate each and every person in the state to a deeper level of comprehension. After this process is complete, the initiation of treaties will follow, with the primary focus being on providing First Nations communities with the means to improve their overall quality of life.
Since the process has already been started in earnest, the decision by the LNP to withdraw its support for the treaty constitutes a sharp turn away from the path of reconciliation that Queensland has started down. It is frustrating to see a bipartisan commitment to this essential subject collapse, especially considering the significant amount of progress that has already been made. Nevertheless, in spite of the stance taken by the LNP, this activity will continue.
The voice referendum was an opportunity for Queensland to address the long-standing economic and social inequities experienced by First Nations peoples; however, the opportunity was not taken advantage of. Although it is an entirely unique process, Queensland’s Path to Treaty covers the same challenges as the other processes.
The past injustices that First Nations peoples were subjected to have left deep wounds on their communities, and these scars deserve acknowledgment, understanding, and reparation. These issues are not merely political pawns; rather, they are matters that have substantial implications on both the moral and ethical fronts.
The Liberal National Party (LNP) has squandered a chance to establish itself as a leader in righting the historical wrongs committed against First Nations peoples by withdrawing its support for truth-telling and treaty. The LNP has shown that in their quest to win a political game, they are literally willing to play with the lives of other people. Because that is the true cost to benefit ratio in this situation.
The process of coming clean and negotiating new treaties will help save lives. It must have positive affect on health and educational outcomes, it will reduce the number of people who commit suicide, and it will lessen the rate of newborn mortality. We are not going to participate in this game. This has nothing to do with political issues. Together, we are going to be the force behind a positive change.
The Path to Treaty initiative in Queensland should be viewed as a one-of-a-kind opportunity to construct a better, more equitable, and more powerful Queensland, and this opportunity should be embraced not just for the people of First Nations but for all residents of the state. It is possible for Queensland to derive enormous benefits from the wealth of information and the world’s oldest continuous cultures if the state’s First Nations peoples are provided with equal opportunities in life.