“Every year, the Closing the Gap report tells us that treating the symptoms doesn’t work. This ‘gap’ was created by colonisation and we can address the cause through a national Treaty.” Said Senator Lidia Thorpe, the Greens spokesperson for First Nations.
The following lines are attributable to Gunnai, Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung Senator Lidia Thorpe
“The latest Closing the Gap report proves that the injustices which started with invasion continue through child removal, incarceration and suicide.
“The rate of First Nations child removal is at an all time high. Survivors of the Stolen Generation are now witnessing a new generation of First Nations children being stolen from their families and communities. The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines, ‘Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group’ as an act of genocide.
“Implementing the recommendations from the Bringing Them Home Report will keep First Nations kids with First Nations families. These are self-determined solutions that successive Governments have ignored for 25 years.
“Incarceration rates are up, yet access to basic human rights will prevent First Nations people from going to prison in the first place. Around 40% of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody’s recommendations are about basic rights like education, health and housing. Labor and Liberal Governments have ignored this advice for 31 years.
“What’s come out today is a clear call to action to implement all of the recommendations from the Bringing them Home report and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. If the Albanese Government is really committed to hearing our voice, they will do this critical work. This is urgent, and overdue.
“First Nations people are resorting to self-harm because they cannot see a future for themselves in this system. The continuing high rate of suicide shows that this nation wasn’t designed to keep First Nations people alive, because ultimately, it’s killing us.
“This Government has inherited a racist institution that has not undertaken any fundamental change since colonisation. First Nations people have been locked out of decision making processes since invasion, but we have an opportunity to do things differently in this country.
“A national, grassroots Treaty will Close the Gap by restoring First Nations peoples’ right to make decisions for ourselves. We know that self-determined solutions work, because Aboriginal people know what’s best for Aboriginal communities. This Government needs to wake up and take action, because First Nations people are dying while they’re stalling.” Said Thorpe.