The Yoorrook Justice Commission is Victoria’s formal truth telling inquiry and the first of its kind in Australia. It is investigating systemic injustices against First Peoples going all the way back to colonisation.
Submissions to Yoorrook are a record of the truth. They must be about past or ongoing systemic injustice experienced by First Peoples.
Submissions can be made by individuals, families or groups.
There are different ways to make a submission. For example, you could:
- Write it down
- Create a video or audio recording of you telling your truth
- Make an artwork
- Share a photo
Submissions don’t have to be formal. If you can capture or document it, it can be a submission. It could be book you or your family have written, or paintings, news articles, photos and songs. Or it could be documents from a workplace, farm, church or family archive about local histories.
Why make a submission?
Making a submission will help Yoorrook create a public record of injustice against First Peoples. It will also help Yoorrook’s Commissioners to recommend real changes to the systems and laws affecting First People. Yoorrook will provide these recommendations to the Victorian Government and the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.
What do I talk about in my submission?
You can share truths and stories about any injustice against First Peoples that happened in Victoria.
This could include stories or information about your family’s experiences, racism, the forced removal of Aboriginal people, massacres, forced labour, cultural loss, intergenerational trauma, the Stolen Generations, the criminal justice system, economic disadvantage and stolen wealth.
You can also share the truth about the strength, survival and resistance of First Peoples.
What happens to my submission?
Yoorrook Commissioners will read your submission and it will help them make recommendations for change.
You can choose if your submission can be published on the Yoorrook website, or if you want it kept confidential. Yoorrook will not make your submission public without your consent.
By publishing submissions on our website, Yoorrook aims to help all Victorians understand the true history of the lands on which we all live and work, and of First Peoples’ experiences of injustice going back to colonisation.
What support is available to make a submission?
There is a range of support available for First Peoples wanting to make a submission. This includes:
Yoorrook has staff called Truth Receivers who can help First Peoples make a submission. They can also help to take a photo, video or audio recording of your submission. Yoorrook’s truth receivers are trusted Community members.
Get to know more about each Truth Receiver by clicking on their photo below.
Yoorrook offers free, confidential and safe wellbeing support to First Peoples who want to tell their truth. This might look like a one-off yarn, ongoing counselling and support, or linking you with other services in your community. This is completely led by you. You can get support before, during and after you make your submission.
There is a free, independent and confidential legal service that can give you information and advice about sharing your story safely with Yoorrook. The service is separate from Yoorrook and run by Victorian Legal Aid and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service. Legal support is optional, and you can choose which provider you want to work with.
There are situations where you may be worried about sharing your story or information with Yoorrook for legal reasons. There are a number of ways that Yoorrook can protect you and your information. This fact sheet shows the protections available to people who share information with Yoorrook, as well as a list of examples.
Examples of submissions
You can view some of the submissions that have already been made to Yoorrook in our public submissions library. Not all submissions have to be made public though – you choose how your story is used and shared.