Unpacking the truth on Sovereignty and Treaty rights.

In 2017 Wiradjuri Wailwan Lawyer Teela Reid's was a guest on the ABC's Q&A panel. Teela challenged Former Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull to take the proposed 'Voice to Parliament' to a referendum after it was dismissed by the Prime Minister and Cabinet.


The Voice to Parliament was one of the elements drafted from the 'Statement From the Heart' Constitutional Recognition Dialogues (Yulara) in 2017.

Teela has recently published an article in the Griffith Review 'The Heart of Seeding First Nations Sovereignty-our giilangs, our stories' and in this interview with Kirstyn Lindsay she unpacks what sovereignty and the notion of Lore means as a basis of her writing.

Her article raises many questions around the challenges of how to 'retro-fit' Treaty into our political landscape. A term Teela used when addressing the imbalances of power between First Nations people and the state.


In the article Teela refers to the line in Yothu Yindi's song Treaty. 'The planting of the Union Jack never changed our law at all...Treaty yeah! Treaty now!


Her explanation of sovereignty includes that no western concept can change our sovereignty and that Treaty is only part of the fight.


Teela says that the Commonwealth are not obliged to act on Treaties in good faith and she questions how can we trust them if there is no obligation to listen?


Teela says she does support Treaty but the foundation needs to be set so there is an obligation for the Commonwealth government to to listen.


Teela's solution to this is the roadmap set out in the 'Statement From the Heart' drafted from the Constitutional recognition dialogues at Yulara in 2017.

The statement sets out reforms for Constitional Change with a Voice to Parliament, Legislative Change and the setting up of a Makarratta Commission that would oversee the truth telling and Treaty process.


Teela says Treaties will always be vulnerable due to the Commonwealth's jurisdiction to

override Treaties within the states and territories. Another reason she says ,why a 'Voice to Parliament' would ensure that there is an obligation to listen.


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