It’s time to tell the truth

Oct 23, 2023
The Australian Aboriginal flag flies at Bondi Beach, Sydney at sunset in winter on 16 June 2023. In the background is the Pacific Ocean.

The past few months, as Australia debated the Voice proposal, have been incredibly challenging for First Peoples. Now we must find ways to move forward together.

The work of the Yoorrook Justice Commission is more important than ever. Yoorrook is investigating the impact colonisation has had and continues to have on First Peoples in Victoria. Yoorrook is listening to all Victorians and making recommendations to right the wrongs of the past and build a better future for everyone.

Yoorrook is now focusing on land, sky and waters. First Peoples have been caring for country for thousands of generations. The history of Europeans coming to Victoria 200 years ago and taking First Peoples’ land is one of wrongdoing and devastating loss. But it is also a story of First Peoples’ resistance, survival and ongoing connection to country.

To move forward together, we must reckon with this past, and that includes understanding history from First Peoples’ perspective.

Yoorrook has released an Issues Paper inviting First Peoples and all Victorians to make submissions relating to land, sky and waters by 17 November 2023.

Organisations and individuals can make submissions via the Yoorrook website.

Yoorrook is holding a large number of roundtable discussions across Victoria over the next few months to listen directly to Traditional Owners and record their truths and evidence for this area of inquiry.

Yoorrook’s evidence gathering will also include public hearings, visits to sites of significance, and issuing notices to produce to government.

We can come together to tell the truth about our land, sky and waters. We can listen to each other with respect and hope and healing. Together, we can find common ground and work toward a better shared future for everyone in this place we all call home.

Support available

Yoorrook has a range of support available for First People wanting to tell their truth.

Yoorrook offers free, confidential and safe wellbeing services. Support might be a one-off yarn, ongoing counselling as you go through the truth telling process or connecting you with other services in your community.

Wellbeing support is completely led by you. You can get support before, during and after you tell your truth. You can find out more about Yoorrook’s Social and Emotional Wellbeing services here.

Yoorrook also offers a free, confidential legal service that can give you advice about sharing your truth safely. The Lotjpa Legal Service is independent of Yoorrook and is run by Victoria Legal Aid and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service. Legal support is optional, and you can choose which provider you work with. You can find out more about Lotjpa here.

It is time to tell the truth
We want to hear your truth about the impacts of colonisation on the First Peoples in Victoria.

Make a submission to the Yoorrook Justice Commission


First published in Yoorrook Justice Commission, Issue No.11, October 2023.


For more on this topic, P&I recommends:

Without action, government apologies at historic Yoorrook Commission are hollow

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