Victoria is a step closer to implementing its historic truth-telling process, which will accompany Treaty negotiations, with today’s announcement of the Yoo-rrook Justice Commissioners.
The five justice commissioners will lead Australia’s first truth-telling process, hearing testimonies from First Nations people about their experiences with colonisation and inquiring into the laws, policies and practices that continue to have impacts.
After a recruitment process that saw a significant number of applications from the Victorian community, 20 candidates were shortlisted before the final five were selected by an independent panel.
Wergaia/Wamba Wamba Elder Professor Eleanor Bourke has been appointed as the Chair of the Commission. She is joined by Commissioners:
- Dr Wayne Atkinson – a Yorta Yorta/ Dja Dja Wurrung Elder, Traditional Owner and accomplished academic with substantial knowledge and experience in human rights, land justice, cultural heritage and Koori oral history programs
- Ms Sue-Anne Hunter – a Wurundjeri and Ngurai illum Wurrung woman recognised as a leader in trauma and healing practices.
- Distinguished Professor Maggie Walter – a Palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) woman descending from the Pairrebenne People of the North East Nation, and a Distinguished Professor of Sociology, and leading expert in disadvantage, inequality and Indigenous Data Sovereignty.
- Professor the Honourable Kevin Bell AM QC – the Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law in the Faculty of Monash University and a former justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
NNTC CEO Jamie Lowe, an elected representative on the First Peoples Assembly of Victoria, stated:
“This is a monumental day for Victoria’s Aboriginal people as we begin our pathway to healing the trauma of colonisation through truth-telling. It’s also a day for all Victorians to celebrate a shared future we can be proud to pass on to future generations.”
“The Yoo-rrook Justice Commissioners are highly renowned and respected members of their communities, who have dedicated themselves to First Nations justice. I look forward to working alongside them.”
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Note to editors: Jamie Lowe is a Gunditjmara/Djab Wurrung man.