New Elders’ Voice to provide advice for Victoria’s Treaty

July 23, 2021 BY

Aunty Charmaine Clarke and Uncle Andrew Gardiner are the interim co-chairs of the Elders' Voice.

THE First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria has announced an interim Elders’ Voice to provide cultural advice, wisdom and oversight from elders across Victoria to the work of the assembly.

The interim body will work to establish the foundations for the permanent Elders’ Voice through community consultations with elders across the state, aiming to ensure the permanent Elders’ Voice and Treaty process reflects the priorities of elders in Victoria.

Respected Elders and assembly members Aunty Charmaine Clarke and Uncle Andrew Gardiner have been appointed as the interim Elders’ Voice co-chairs.

They will attend consultation sessions and support elders in the development of the permanent Elders’ Voice from early next month.

Aunty Charmaine, a Gunditjmara woman, celebrated the introduction of the model.

“The strength of Aboriginal Elders, and their long fight for justice, has brought us to this point in our state’s history. We are grateful to receive our Elders’ direction on our historic path towards Treaty, and we will listen to the collective wisdom and knowledge they share to inform our journey,” she said.

“We encourage elders across Victoria to attend these community consultation events to have their say on the form the permanent Elders’ Voice will take.”

Uncle Andrew, a Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung man, said the consultation process will be underpinned by four cultural pillars – respect, connectedness, knowledge base and lore of the land.

“Our permanent Elders’ Voice is something our community has been calling for since the beginning of the Treaty process. It has always been a priority of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria,” he said.

“Today marks an historic day for Victoria’s path to Treaty and I am proud to stand alongside Aunty Charmaine and help drive this important discussion.”

The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria is the democratically-elected voice for Aboriginal communities in Victoria working to establish a framework for the negotiation of a statewide Treaty and Traditional Owner Treaties at the local level.

For more information on the interim Elders’ Voice, head to the First Peoples Victoria website.