Makarrata Committee Appointment
Tuesday, 16 March 2021: (16:04)
Senator DODSON (Western Australia)
(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Joint Select Committee on Makarrata, be established to inquire into and report on the truth telling and treaty making elements of Makarrata as called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, with particular reference to:
(a) the history of First Nations advocacy for treaty and truth-telling in Australia;
(b) the progress of treaty making and truth-telling with First Nations in the states and territories;
(c) international developments in treaty making and truth-telling with First Nations;
(d) legal issues relevant to treaty making and truth-telling at the national level;
(e) the representation of First Nations parties in treaty making and truth telling processes at the national level;
(f) the role of a First Nations Voice to Parliament; and
(g) any other matters relevant to the feasibility of options for national processes for treaty making and truth- telling with First Nations.
(2) That the committee present an interim report on the last sitting day in June 2021, and a final report on or before the last sitting day in November 2021.
(3) That the committee consist of six senators and six members of the House of Representatives, as follows:
(a) three members of the House of Representatives nominated by the Government Whip or Whips;
(b) two members of the House of Representatives nominated by the Opposition Whip or Whips;
(c) one member of the House of Representatives nominated by minor party and independent members; (d) three senators nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate;
(e) two senators nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate;
(f) one senator nominated by minor party and independent senators.
(a) participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Government Whip in the House of Representatives, the Opposition Whip in the House of Representatives, the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or any minority party or independent senator or member of the House of Representatives; and
(b) participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee.
(5) That three members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee, provided that one is a member nominated by the Government Whip or Whips or the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and the other is a member nominated by the Opposition Whip or Whips or the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
(6) That every nomination of a member of the committee be notified in writing to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(7) That the members of the committee hold office as a joint select committee until the presentation of the committee’s final report or until the House of Representatives is dissolved or expires by effluxion of time, whichever is the earlier.
(8) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.
(a) the committee elect two of its members to be joint chairs, one being a member nominated by the Government Whip or Whips or the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and the other being a member nominated by the Opposition Whip or Whips or the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, provided that the joint chairs are not members of the same House;
(b) committee meetings shall be chaired by the joint chairs on an alternating basis, commencing with the joint chair nominated by the Government Whip or Whips or the Leader of the Government in the Senate;
(c) a joint chair shall take the chair whenever the other joint chair is not present;
(d) each of the joint chairs shall have a deliberative vote only, regardless of who is chairing the meeting;
(10) That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of two or more of its members, provided that one is a member nominated by the Government Whip or Whips or the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and the other is a member nominated by the Opposition Whip or Whips or the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider.
(11) That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.
(12) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(13) That the committee or any subcommittee have power to consider and make use of the evidence and records of the former Joint Select Committees on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples appointed during the 44th and 45th Parliaments.
(14) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.
(15) That the committee have power to adjourn from time to time and to sit during any adjournment of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
(16) That a message be sent to the House of Representatives seeking its concurrence in this resolution.
I seek leave to make a short statement. (Leave is granted)
The committee being proposed would begin the long journey to collect data and identify issues and challenges that may arise at the national level with truth-telling and agreement-making—issues and challenges that presently we all speculate and even hold fears about. It would review what has been happening internationally and identify what legal issues and challenges there may be at a national level if we go down the makarrata pathway.
The aim of this exercise is to send a message to those who are focused solely on a voice to the parliament or to the government, but there are other aspects of the Uluru Statement that are not lost on the parliament.
The committee would be taking an initial step to help parliamentarians and the community more generally to become aware of what some of the key elements in truth-telling and treaty-making might be at the national level.