Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (file image)
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk spoke to community leaders about the Path to Treaty in February. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS

Post clueless on Indigenous treaty consultations

Kate Atkinson May 25, 2023

The Queensland government is establishing a treaty with Indigenous people without any form of consultation.


False. Consultation has been conducted with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people since 2019.

A Facebook post claims the Queensland government is establishing a treaty with Indigenous people without any form of consultation.

This is false. The state government has conducted many forms of consultation with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people about treaty negotiations since 2019.

More opportunities for feedback are planned, including through a truth-telling and healing inquiry.

“Currently the labor party in Queensland are doing a treaty with the (Aboriginal people) here in Queensland without any form of consultation with the Queensland people. In my opinion, this is wrong and it should go to the people at maybe a referendum. It’s that important and involves all of us and this fool is doing this treaty without any consultation,” the post (archived here) reads.

A screenshot of the Facebook post.
 The post claims Queensland’s government is bringing in a treaty “without any form of consultation”. 

Queensland parliament passed the Path to Treaty Bill with bipartisan support on May 10, 2023.

The bill itself is not a treaty, but sets up a framework to begin a treaty negotiation process.

It establishes a First Nations Treaty Institute to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people taking part in negotiations, along with a truth-telling and healing inquiry which will examine historical and ongoing impacts of colonisation.

The legislation follows work from the Treaty Working Group (page 37) in 2019, which held public meetings in 24 locations across the state attended by more than 1000 people (page 38).

The working group also collected 331 online surveys and 38 written submissions from Indigenous people, community leaders and legal experts.

The consultation results are documented in the Report from the Treaty Working Group on Queensland’s Path to Treaty from February 2020 (see pages 40-57).

A Treaty Advancement Committee was formed in February 2021 to provide further advice to the Queensland government.

An Indigenous performer with a flag (file image)
 Public hearings and forums on the planned treaty have been held across Queensland. 

This committee undertook “targeted consultation”, meetings with peak bodies, government representatives and experts in different fields (page 12).

This included speaking to the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, the Senior Advisory Group to the National Indigenous Voice Co-Design, the Queensland Treasury, and the Northern Territory Treaty Commission, among others.

An inquiry was established to review the legislation after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Labor government introduced the Path to Treaty Bill to parliament in February 2023.

As part of this inquiry, public hearings and forums were held throughout March and April 2023, with broadcast recordings and transcripts of the meetings available online. Another 39 written submissions were also received.

Labor MP Corrine McMillan, who chaired the committee which ran the inquiry, told AAP FactCheck there were various opportunities for people to comment on the bill.

“We had an opportunity for all Queenslanders to make a submission to provide feedback on the bill via a parliamentary website,” she said.

“That was open for approximately six weeks and it was advertised in a range of forums.”

Labor MP Corrine McMillan (file image)
 Labor MP Corrine McMillan (centre) led the committee overseeing consultation on the bill. 

Ms McMillan said the committee also held public meetings throughout Queensland including in Inala, the Palm Islands, Longreach, Weipa, Woorabinda, Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns and Thursday Island.

“The other opportunity that was made available was that community members or organisations … could email me or ring me in my electorate office to talk to me about any concerns they had,” she said.

“The Interim Truth and Treaty Board also were conducting consultations throughout Queensland for the weeks leading up and in the weeks after the committee was travelling.”

There has been some criticism the consultations were inaccessible to many Indigenous people, particularly in remote locations.

A boy traces his hand on a sign (file image)
 A truth-telling and healing inquiry will look at the historical and ongoing impacts of colonisation. 

Ms McMillan noted there would be more chances for the community to provide feedback.

“What’s really important to recognise is that the bill is the first step in the whole treaty-making process and the truth and healing inquiry,” she said.

The Verdict

The claim the Queensland government did not conduct consultation before initiating a treaty process with Indigenous people is false.

The government has conducted various forms of consultation with the community since 2019, including public meetings, surveys, written submissions and hearings.

There will be further opportunities for people to provide feedback, including through a truth-telling and healing inquiry.

False The claim is inaccurate.

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