The Honourable Will Hodgman
Hon Will Hodgman,
Premier of Tasmania and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs,
Hobart 7000. 9 August 2017
We the undersigned are Tasmanian writers, historians and publishers, with works drawing on Tasmania’s past, present and sense of place.
As non-Aboriginal people, we unconditionally support steps to progress reconciliation with Aboriginal Tasmania. While some of us have direct ancestral links to figures and families involved in the colonisation of Tasmania, we all feel the heavy weight of this history, how it was told and its ongoing impact on a proud and independent people.
Tasmania’s Aboriginal people, the Palawa, have lived here since time began. Their culture, community and connection to Country lives on despite the dispossession and injustice inflicted.
Injustice continues to this day, making the task of reconciliation multi-layered and urgent. Reconciliation is more than atonement for the past. Reconciliation requires action, equality, respect, celebration and support for Aboriginal people and their heritage, today.
Reconciliation requires leadership.
Reconciliation requires good faith.
Premier, the takayna/Tarkine is Aboriginal land. It displays some of the most powerful and precious sites of Aboriginal heritage significance and is an Aboriginal cultural landscape, a direct link to Palawa ancestors. This tangible link to one of the planet’s most ancient cultures merits a formalised level of official recognition and Aboriginal involvement, far beyond that which currently applies. Land justice is central to reconciliation.
Your intention to expand 4WD access across the takayna Aboriginal cultural landscape is entirely inconsistent with a good faith attempt to progress reconciliation.
It will be impossible for you to move beyond statements of intent, whilst the Government you lead continues to impose one culture over another, remains deaf to the wishes of the Aboriginal community and pushes for increased vehicle access across a sacred land.
In the interests of reconciliation, unity, equality and respect, we urge you to withdraw your plan to expand 4WD access on the takayna coast. In its place, take steps to properly protect this landscape through collaboration, cooperation and land justice.
By doing so, you will create a platform of trust and credibility upon which to build the reconciliation all Tasmanians want you to achieve.
Bob Brown AM
Geoff Law AM
Jamie Kirkpatrick AM