The Yirrkala Bark Petitions still resonate today and Aboriginal people must be at the centre of economic development decisions on their land, Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister Senator Nigel Scullion said while attending the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions.
“When the Yolngu people presented the Yirrkala Bark Petitions to Federal Parliament in 1963, it was a spark that lit a fire for the recognition of Indigenous land rights for all First Australians,” Senator Scullion said.
“The Bark Petitions marked one of the most significant turning points in the history of relations between the Government of Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples since European settlement.
“The Yolngu People helped pave the way for a host of historic breakthrough events such as the 1967 referendum, to land rights legislation in most jurisdictions, to native title and the apology.
“Aboriginal land must be protected from the anti-development Greens agenda and Indigenous people must be front and centre in plans to develop Northern Australia.
“The message of the Bark Petitions of 1963 has echoed across the decades and will continue to do so for decades to come.
“If there is to be an historic resounding yes vote for the recognition of Indigenous Australians in our Constitution it will be due in no small part to those magnificent documents and the leadership that inspired them,” Senator Scullion said.
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Yirrkala bark petition release.pdf