10 November 2020

It's NAIDOC Week and I'm so honoured to represent the electorate named after William Cooper, one of the most prominent Aboriginal activists. He helped to establish National Aborigines Day, now known as NAIDOC Week. William Cooper furthered the causes of land rights, enfranchisement and direct Aboriginal representation in the parliament. He embodied the strength, resilience and resistance of his people. NAIDOC was born from this resistance, and I pay tribute to William and his fellow First Nations activists today.


This year's NAIDOC theme is 'Always Was, Always Will Be', an important message recognising that First Nations people have lived on these lands for 65,000 years. This land always was and always will be theirs. It is a land stolen, never ceded.


The legacy of William Cooper continues today, including in my electorate, where there are many wonderful First Nations organisations, including 12 First Nations peak bodies. I'm so grateful for their contributions to our community and for the lessons and truths we learn from them. It's only right that we play our part in this relationship and walk with them, implementing what First Nations people have called for—most notably, the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We on this side have committed to doing so, to enshrining a voice to parliament in the Constitution, to establishing a makarrata commission to oversee agreement-making and treaty, and to engaging in a national process of truth-telling. This always was and always will be Aboriginal land.