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13 August, 2021

MP Cynthia Lui a strong voice in Path to Treaty

RECENTLY Cairns Local News spoke to state Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford about the ‘Path to Treaty’ commitment from the Queensland Government.

By David Gardiner

RECENTLY Cairns Local News spoke to state Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford about the ‘Path to Treaty’ commitment from the Queensland Government.

The Path to Treaty is the beginning of “the journey towards negotiated treaties with First Nations Queenslanders.

It seeks to consolidate the milestones and achievements already underway and build stronger relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.”

For this week’s edition, David Gardiner interviewed Member for Cook in far north Qld, Cynthia Lui about her views on the Treaty process, and what it means to her personally as a Torres Strait Island woman.

Q. Cynthia Lui, what will the Treaty or Treaties personally mean for you; what are your expectations?

“As a proud Torres Strait Island woman, a Queenslander and the Member for Cook, Path to Treaty means a great deal to me as there is a need to recognise our colonial history, acknowledge dispossession and work together to reimagine and co-design a way of walking together.

“What it will look like is still to be worked out, as it’s important everyone who wants to have a say, and that these voices are heard and taken into account.

“My only expectation is that the process moves forward, and that the eventual outcome – whether it’s a single Treaty with the First Nations peoples of what is now known as Queensland or individual agreements with a Nation or group of Nations – reflects the things that matter to these groups.”

Q. Do you think the process of the Path To Treaty will be difficult, given the need for truth-telling? Will you encourage your communities to come forward with stories that you think must be told in order to obtain meaningful reconciliation?

Every act of remembering difficult and often traumatic events, whether experienced directly or indirectly, is hard.

“I believe we need to hear those stories, and understand our shared history, in order to find a way forward.

“The process of truth telling needs to be conducted in a culturally safe way and to respect First Nations’ need to share their histories, or not to if that’s what they choose.”

Q. What will the treaty or treaties mean for your community and other communities that you represent or have close relationships with?

“My experience suggests that this will mean something different for everyone, some people will welcome it, others will focus on the need for more concrete measures, some will focus on a Voice to Parliament and others may not even know it’s taking place.

“Overall though I think it will be taken in the spirit in which it’s intended – as a means of finding a new way to walk together.”

Q. Should a treaty or treaties aim to have an overall positive effect on strengthening bonds between all Queenslanders moving forward? What positives do you believe will come out of this?

“I think everything remains to be seen but it’s my hope my fellow Queenslanders will see this as a positive step for all of us, and increase our pride in the many great things we’ve done together over
the years.”

Q. Do you feel that you will personally have an important contribution in the processes of the Path
To Treaty?

“I am just one voice in this story but hopefully I can use it to share this opportunity with the people of Cook and bring more voices into this
conversation.”

Work to date on the Path To Treaty includes the addition to the preamble to the Queensland Constitution to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians.

Path to Treaty Achievements

  • Human Rights Act 2019 which acknowledges the importance of the right to self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders
  • Launch of the Queensland Government Reconciliation Action Plan 2018–2021
  • Commitment to the legal recognition of traditional Torres Strait Islander child rearing practices
  • Establishment of the Queensland First Children and Families Board
  • Establishment of the Local Thriving Communities Joint Coordinating Committee
  • Commitment to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are represented on various government boards and committees
  • Appointment of the First Nations Advisor for Housing.

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