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Byron Shire
June 16, 2021

Let’s start talking about treaty: Shorten

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Australia needs to start talking about a possible treaty with Aboriginal once they are recognised in the constitution, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says.

Mr Shorten said both practical and symbolic recognition of indigenous people were important.

He said he didn’t think there should be a separate Aboriginal state, but the first Australians should be recognised in the national birth certificate, the constitution.

‘Do I think we need to move beyond just constitutional recognition to talking about what a post-constitutional recognition settlement with indigenous people looks like? Yes, I do,’ he said on the ABC Q and A program.

‘I do think there needs to be a discussion about should you have a treaty or shouldn’t you have a treaty. What I’m not going to do is give all the answers on one spot at one time.’

Mr Shorten said if he was indigenous, he would believe Australia was invaded back in 1788.

Asked he if he would personally describe that as an invasion, he replied: “If I was Aboriginal, I wouldn’t exactly call it a welcome, would you?”

‘This was Aboriginal land. It is, it always will be,’ he said.

Mr Shorten said his ancestors came to Australia as convicts.

‘So I don’t feel the convicts were part of the invading force, if that’s any good. They didn’t have any choice coming here either,’ he said.


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