Treaty timeline: Events from 1835 to today

This timeline charts Australia's way towards a treaty with its Aboriginal people from the early beginnings in the 1800s to the present day.

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  1. The Victorian government commits to create a truth and justice commission to "formally recognise historical wrongs and ongoing injustices" against Aboriginal people, the first state or territory to do so. The commission will work in parallel with the treaty process already under way, and will be designed and led by the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.

    Truth telling is critical to everything we need to move forward, to heal as a state.

    — Marcus Stewart, co-chair, Taungurung Assembly
  2. The Victorian government meets with the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria for the first time to officially begin formal treaty negotiations and establish a framework for further discussions.

    We’ve never seen this before. It’s never been something so tangible that you can feel you can reach it.

    — Marcus Stewart, Taungurung assembly co-chair
  3. The Queensland government establishes a Treaty Advancement Committee to provide independent advice on the implementation of the Eminent Panel’s recommendations. The government also accepts (supports and intends to implement), or accepts in principle (supports the intent but needs to consider further), all recommendations of the Panel.


  1. The Commonwealth government releases draft proposals from the Indigenous Voice co-design process.

  2. The federal government rejects a senate motion, led by Patrick Dodson, to set up an enquiry into truth-telling and treaty-making which are key elements of a Makarrata process as called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

  3. The First People's Assembly of Victoria establishes the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission, the first truth-telling body in Australia. It is independent of both government and the Assembly. Yoo-rrook means ‘truth’ in the Wemba Wemba / Wamba Wamba language, which is spoken in the north-west region of Victoria.

  4. The Queensland government establishes a $300 million Path to Treaty Fund. It plans to use its returns "to progress Queensland’s Path to Treaty and support the Government’s response to the Treaty Advancement Committee report" which it received on 12 October 2021.

  5. The Tasmanian government vows to take further steps towards reconciliation with the island state's First Nations community, including a truth-telling process and working on a pathway to treaty.

  6. The Australian government reveals the new model of First Nations Australians’ voice to parliament as a series of local bodies and a national body, but declines to set these up until after the 2022 election or embed them in the Constitution. It also gives no details about their structure and boundaries.

    The 25 to 35 local and regional voice bodies form the consultative groups that would eventually have input into representatives on the national body. The national body would report to both the Australian parliament and government, reflecting the different roles of government and parliament in making laws and policies.


  1. The Yoorrook Justice Commission officially launches its truth-telling process in Victoria with commissioners scheduled to travel the state to hear the concerns of First Nations Elders, with the broader Victorian community invited in the second half of 2022.

  2. The Victorian government passes the Treaty Authority and Other Treaty Elements Bill 2022 to establish an independent body responsible for overseeing a treaty or treaties between the government and Victoria’s First Peoples. The bill gives the treaty authority the legal powers necessary to facilitate negotiations and resolve any disputes between the government and First Nations peoples. The treaty authority will be led by First Nations peoples, independent from government, and grounded in traditional culture, lore, and law.

  3. Queensland’s premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, accepts all 22 recommendations of a committee report into the state's treaty advancement. She intends to establish an independent First Nations Treaty Institute which will be responsible for developing a treaty-making framework for agreement with government. A three-year formal truth-telling inquiry will detail injustices faced by First Nations peoples.

  4. The NSW Coalition government gives in-principle support to enshrine a First Nations Voice to parliament in the Constitution.


View article sources (4)

[1] [1a] 'Victoria to set up Australia's first truth and justice commission to recognise wrongs against Aboriginal people', The Guardian 11/7/2020
[2] 'Victorian government and First Peoples' Assembly to begin 'momentous' treaty negotiations', The Guardian 3/8/2020
[3] 'Queensland Government’s historic commitment to Treaty-making process', media release 13/8/2020
[4] 'Budget connects language, culture and Treaty in Queensland', Queensland government media statement 15/6/2021

Cite this page

Korff, J 2022, Treaty timeline: Events from 1835 to today, <>, retrieved 23 June 2024

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