Blog | 18th Oct, 2023

Why we need to keep showing up for First Nations justice

The referendum result was devastating for many of us, especially First Nations communities and campaigners. It's up to all of us now to stand firm and double down on our commitments to First Nations justice, Treaty and truth-telling.

Saturday’s referendum result was devastating, no matter how prepared you were for a loss. This moment is hard for all of us, most of all for First Nations communities and campaigners. Many have asked for space and time to grieve. Others have called on allies to stand up and speak out.

We may be angry and disappointed, but we cannot give up.

The referendum result shows us we need to stand up against the hate and fear that was perpetuated by the NO campaign. Together, we need to double down on our commitments to First Nations justice, Treaty and truth-telling.

For generations, First Nations communities have fought tirelessly for the right to be in control of their own lives, communities and land. It’s on the back of two centuries of resistance and struggle that this huge momentum for change has been growing.

We can’t forget that millions of people across the country wrote YES last weekend. Thousands more dedicated their time and money – many for the first time – to show up for First Nations justice in one of the biggest mobilisations this country has seen.

The Voice was one potential mechanism for change. But this moment was always situated within a bigger struggle for justice. We know there is widespread support for transformative change – things like treaties, truth-telling and land rights. Now, it’s up to all of us to stand firm and keep the pressure on governments, at both the state and federal level, to continue this journey.

Here in Victoria, there are plenty of ways you can continue showing up.

Whether it’s standing by the right of First Peoples to care for the rivers of the Murray-Darling, supporting the Victorian Treaty process or backing in Traditional Owners to say ‘no’ to seismic blasting and gas drilling off the coast, here are some of the First Nations organisations and movements you can get behind:

4 ways you can show up for First Nations justice in Victoria

Victorian Treaty and truth-telling processes

The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria has made huge progress on Treaty negotiations. Find out more and join their mailing list here >>

The Yoorook Justice Commission is the state’s first formal truth-telling process. Learn more and read some of the stories shared here >>

Pay the Rent

We live, work and play on land that was forcibly taken from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the effects of this continue today. Paying the Rent is a powerful way you can acknowledge this history and support First Nations communities’ self-determination. Find out more >>

First Nations fighting for water justice in the Murray-Darling

The Murray-Darling Basin is the ancestral domain for over 40 First Nations, but colonisation and the over-extraction of water has left them with few rights to own, manage or care for land and water. Real water justice means returning water rights to support cultural traditions and community development.

You can support Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC) here >>

You can hear from Brendan Kennedy, a Tati Tati and Wadi Wadi Traditional Owner who has been instrumental in elevating the profile of First Nations water rights in the Basin, at our AGM next week. Find out more and RSVP here >>

Southern Ocean Protection Embassy Collective (SOPEC)

SOPEC are a First Nations-led campaign to protect Gunditjmara Sacred lands and Sea Country from seismic blasting by oil and gas companies. Join their rally against seismic blasting in Warnambool this Sunday >>