Natalie Hutchins: Parliament Sittings To Acknowledge Country
For the first time, both houses of the Victorian Parliament will now undertake an Acknowledgement of Country each sitting week.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins introduced the motion to the Legislative Assembly, which having been successfully passed will see the Speaker Acknowledging Country at the beginning of every sitting week.
An Acknowledgement of Country recognises Victoria’s Traditional Owners and Aboriginal people’s deep and continuous connection to the land.
In introducing the motion, Ms Hutchins said that the Acknowledgement of Country reflected a commitment to developing a genuine partnership with Aboriginal Victorians in protecting and preserving their rich history.
After speaking with numerous Aboriginal communities and organisations, Ms Hutchins wrote to the Speaker and President of the Parliament in July this year, asking that they consider the permanent flying of the Aboriginal flag and the introduction of an Acknowledgment of Country.
Subsequently, the Aboriginal flag is now flown alongside the Australian and Victorian State flag permanently, beginning in September this year.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins
“The exclusion of Aboriginal people and their past from our history books and our classrooms can never be undone. But as the Premier said earlier this year – it is never too late to do the right thing.”
“Paying respect to Traditional Owners goes beyond symbolism – it’s a meaningful acknowledgment of Aboriginal people’s deep and continuous connection to the land.”
“Today demonstrated that when Governments are prepared to actually listen – to genuinely partner with Aboriginal people – we can achieve great things.”