WA Aboriginal Bill historic but overdue

Mooro Country Tour educators Len Yarran (foreground) and Shane Garlett, also chair of the WADJAK Northside Aboriginal Community Group. Picture: Marcus Whisson       www.communitypix.com.au   d426484
Mooro Country Tour educators Len Yarran (foreground) and Shane Garlett, also chair of the WADJAK Northside Aboriginal Community Group. Picture: Marcus Whisson       www.communitypix.com.au d426484

Mr Garlett said for the older generation of Aboriginal Australians it was very important to be recognised as the first people and custodians of the land.

His comments came after Kimberley MLA Josie Farrer�s Constitution Amendment (Recognition of Aboriginal People) Bill was passed last month in the lower House of Parliament.

The Bill recognises WA�s Aboriginal people in the Constitution as the first people and traditional custodians of the land.

With a similar Bill introduced in South Australia in 2012, in New South Wales and Queensland in 2010, and Victoria in 2004, Mr Garlett said it showed how far behind WA was in addressing Aboriginal issues.

�Being recognised as the first custodians is very important to some of the older generation; some of the adversity that these Aboriginal peoples faced a long time ago can never be changed and to be classed as flora and fauna still haunts a lot of Noongar people today,� he said.

�Reconciliation is only a word. We�ve been celebrating this event for many years now; how long do we need to celebrate to be recognised?�

Mirrabooka MLA Janine Freeman spoke in Parliament about important local Aboriginal history in her electorate and referenced Koondoola elder Walter Eatts� book.

Eatts wrote that he found it sad Australia had not embraced the truth of earlier years of colonisation by non-Aboriginal people.

Premier Colin Barnett said the Bill would be an important moment in the history of this Parliament and a historic one for Aboriginal people in WA.

�Acknowledgement of Aboriginal people in our Constitution as the traditional custodians of this land is long overdue,� he said.