21 seats elected
11 seats appointed
An election to elect representatives to the First Peoples' Assembly in the Australian state of Victoria occurred in 2019. The election filled seats to the body which was charged with the responsibility of preparing for negotiations with the Government of Victoria about a treaty with the state's Aboriginal population.
The voting period was 16 September to 20 October 2019. Only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in Victoria and at least 16 years of age were eligible to vote in the election. However, only 7% of the eligible voters turned out to vote.
In June 2018 the Victorian Parliament passed legislation to create a framework for negotiating a treaty with Aboriginal people. The legislation was supported by the Labor Government and the Greens, though not by the two opposition parties, the Liberal and National parties. The legislation included provisions to create an Aboriginal representative body and its implementation was overseen by the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission chaired by Jill Gallagher. The lead-up to the vote was not without controversy, as it occurred amidst the Andrews Labor Government's planned duplication of the Western Highway near Ararat. The duplication plans included a proposal to disrupt a cultural site with trees sacred to Aboriginal people in the area. A protest on the steps of Parliament House included protesters with signs saying "no trees, no treaty".
The Assembly was filled by 32 representatives, the majority of which were elected in five regions; 9 from Melbourne region, 3 from Western Victoria region, 3 from North-Western region, 3 from Northern region, and 3 from Eastern region. A further 11 seats were reserved for formally recognised Traditional Owner Groups. 73 people nominated for the Assembly and approximately 30,000 people were eligible to vote. To vote, eligible voters were first required to enrol online and provide evidence of identity, age and residence. Voting opened on 16 September and closed on 20 October 2019, and voters could cast a ballot online, by post or at one of 43 polling booths across Victoria.
Once elected, the Assembly was not responsible for negotiating a treaty or multiple treaties with the Victorian government on behalf of Aboriginal clans and nations. Instead the Assembly's primary responsibilities were to:
- Establish the Treaty Authority – an independent umpire in the negotiation process
- Establish the Treaty Negotiating Framework – a body who set the ground rules for negotiations and authorised who may negotiate on behalf of certain people/clans
- Establish the Self-Determination Fund – to support Aboriginal communities to be on an even playing field with government when treaties are being negotiated
The 21 elected candidates were announced on 4 November 2019. Seven days later the commission announced the 11 people appointed by formally recognised Traditional Owner groups to a reserved seat on the Assembly.
- Elected Members
|Metropolitan||South west||North west||North east||South east|
|Esmerelda Glenda Bamblett||Sissy Austin||Jacinta Chaplin||Geraldine Atkinson||Peter Hood|
|Muriel Pauline Bamblett, AO||Michael (Mookeye) Bell||Raylene Ivy Harradine||Natarsha Bamblett||Alice Ann Pepper|
|Rueben Berg||Jordan Edwards||Jason Kelly||Leanne Miller||Kaylene Williamson|
|Carolyn Briggs, AM|
|Trevor John Gallagher|
- Reserved Seat Holders
1 seat unfilled, because the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation were entitled to appoint a member but did not do so.
|Name||Nation (Clan)||Region||Aboriginal Corporation|
|Dylan Clarke||Wotjobaluk||North West||Barengi Gadjin Land Council|
|Trent Nelson||Dja Dja Wurrung, Yorta Yorta||North West||Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation|
|Donna Wright||Gunditjmara (Kerrupmara), Kamilaroi||South West|
|Melissa Jones||Latje Latje, Wotjobaluk||North West|
|Robert Ogden||Bunurong||Metropolitan||Bunurong Land Council|
|Andrew Gardiner||Wurundjeri, Woi Wurung|
|Troy McDonald||Gunai Kurnai||South East||Gunai Kurnai Land and Waters Corporation|
|Unfilled||Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation|
- Australian Associated Press (16 September 2019). "Voting opens for representatives to Victoria's First Peoples' Assembly". The Guardian.
- Rollason, Bridget (16 September 2019). "Victorian treaty negotiations move closer as voting opens for First Peoples' Assembly". ABC News. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
- "About". First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria. 24 November 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
- Towell, Noel (10 November 2019). "Historic vote, but only 7 per cent turned out for Aboriginal poll". The Age. Retrieved 31 December 2019.
- "Victoria passes historic law to create Indigenous treaty framework". The Guardian. 22 June 2018.
- "About the Commission". victreatyadvancement.org.au.
- "Western Highway sacred trees protest comes to steps of Victorian Parliament". ABC News. 10 September 2019.
- "Victorian treaty vote for First Peoples' Assembly delivers a different kind of state election". ABC News. 6 October 2019.
- "Vote". First Peoples Victoria.
- "First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria". Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission.
- Dunstan, Joseph (4 November 2019). "Victorian Aboriginal voters have elected an Assembly to advance the treaty process. So what's next?". abc.net.au. Archived from the original on 8 November 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
- "Results: First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria election". victreatyadvancement.org.au. 7 November 2019. Archived from the original on 8 November 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
- "More Aboriginal leaders appointed to First Peoples' Assembly". Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission.
- "Self-determination arrives at the centre of a colonial power structure". Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission. 31 October 2019.