An historic step towards treaty and reconciliation

In establishing Australia’s first ever treaty legislation, Victoria has taken a significant step towards reconciliation in that state.

With the passing of the ‘Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Bill 2018’ in the Victorian Parliament last night, the people of Victoria have committed to a process of truth-telling and healing.

The importance of treaty has been restated many times in the past three decades, including in the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation’s final report in 2000, and Reconciliation Australia’s The State of Reconciliation in Australia report.

More recently, the 2017 Statement from the Heart outlined the importance of sovereignty, and called for a Voice to Parliament and a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement-making, and facilitate a process of local and regional truth telling.

Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine said this move by the Victorian Parliament stands as an historic step in the country’s reconciliation journey.

“Treaty is an important and reasonably held aspiration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Many Australians feel that treaty is essential to reconciliation,” she said.

“Victorians are leading the way and I hope other state governments and our federal parliamentarians are inspired to follow.”

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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