Yoorrook Justice Commission calls for submissions from all Victorian First Peoples

For media enquiries, please contact Evan Schuurman 0408 847 385 or evan.schuurman@yoorrook.org.au

October 25, 2022

The Yoorrook Justice Commission is calling on all Victorian First Peoples to tell their truth about any ongoing or historic injustice through a new online submission portal launched today.

To date, Yoorrook has focused on truth telling from First Peoples’ Elders only, to ensure the Commission’s work was grounded in and guided by their experience and cultural authority.

Today’s opening of submissions marks the first time in our history that all Victorian First Peoples have been invited to participate in a formal truth telling process – truth telling that the government must listen to.

Yoorrook will use the truths and experiences shared with the Commission to make recommendations for systemic reform and create a new public record of the impacts of colonisation.

First Peoples are encouraged to make submissions in any form they wish via the online portal. Unlike traditional Royal Commissions, this may include audio or video recorded submissions, artwork, or recordings of song or dance in addition to written submissions.

Submissions can be made about any kind of systemic injustice experienced by First Peoples. This may include truths about:

  • individual or family experiences of injustice and racism
  • forced removal from home and land
  • massacres, forced labour, cultural loss, intergenerational trauma
  • economic disadvantage and stolen wealth
  • or anything else

Submissions can also share the truth about the strength, survival, and resistance of First Peoples.

Free, confidential, and safe social and emotional wellbeing support and legal advice is available for all First Peoples wishing to tell their truth to Yoorrook. More information about how to access these supports can be found via the online portal.

Chair of the Commission, Wergaia and Wamba Wamba Elder, Professor Eleanor Bourke AM, said:

“The Yoorrook Justice Commission invites all First Peoples to join this historic journey and to tell their truths about Victoria’s history. Being heard is a first step towards justice and transformation.

“The Yoorrook Justice Commission has already heard powerful truths from Elders across the state. Many spoke about the ongoing effects of discriminatory practices and racist beliefs, and the damaging legacy of past government policies such as those that led to the Stolen Generation. They spoke about how these policies and beliefs continue to affect their everyday lives, and that of their children and grandchildren.

“We are pleased that now all First Peoples can share their experiences with the first formal truth-telling inquiry in Australia.

“Sharing these truths will help Yoorrook hold the Government, State and other entities to account for past and ongoing injustice and, recommend real changes to the systems and laws affecting First Nations people.

“I encourage all Victorian First Peoples to take part in this journey by making a submission. By exposing truth and building understanding, Yoorrook’s truth telling work will transform Victoria so we can all turn a new page together.”

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact:

Evan Schuurman, Senior Media Advisor, 0408 847 385, evan.schuurman@yoorrook.org.au

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