An aide for Greens MP Lidia Thorpe has offered to resign over his offensive tweets. Picture: David Caird
An aide for Greens MP Lidia Thorpe has offered to resign over his offensive tweets. Picture: David Caird

Push for Queensland and Victoria to change names

Victorian Greens Senate candidate Lidia Thorpe says Australians - black and white - should openly discuss renaming Victoria because of its links to Australia's colonial past.

Victoria is named after Queen Victoria, who ruled the British Empire until 1901.

Ms Thorpe, who was Victoria's first Indigenous female MP, told news.com.au she has a "shopping list" of things to negotiate in treaty talks and renaming places shouldn't be off the table.

"Given we're all talking about the colonial past and how everything's named as a result of invasion of this country, why wouldn't we negotiate that?" she said.

"It may be that it stays the same. But why wouldn't we put that on the table. Maybe we need to be making decisions, changing place names, state names and anything else that causes harm."

She said Queensland could do the same. "Maybe that's something they could negotiate."

Australia is the only Commonwealth country in the world that doesn't have a treaty with its first people.

Ms Thorpe is watching closely as a framework for negotiations is set up and says all Australians should do the same.

"Treaty is not just for black fellas," she told news.com.au. "This is an opportunity for this country to grow up and mature as a nation. And acknowledge and recognise the true history.

"That's when we come together. It's not about black or white. It's about the good, bad and ugly or our history.

"I see a treaty as a way that we can make peace with one another. We don't live in peace. We don't have the same opportunities. I'd like to see the end to the injustice that occurs against Aboriginal people, I'd like to see our environment protected like we used to protect it.

"I'd like to see some income generated from our resources given to traditional owners whose land that belongs to."

She has been heartened by the scale of Black Lives Matter protests around the country and hopes they lead to something positive.

Dr Harry Hobbs from the University of Technology Sydney teaches in the areas of Indigenous rights. He said a name change for Victoria would be "unlikely".

"A treaty is a political agreement," he said. "Any settlement will need to be agreed to by both sides. I imagine that it will be very unlikely that any Victorian government would agree to change the state's name, but place name changes are common elements of treaties around the world.

"In Canada, for example, the Nisga'a Final Agreement changed over thirty place names from English to Nisga'a language."

City of Melbourne councillor Nicholas Reece joined the conversation around making changes to Victoria's colonial this morning.

He told 3AW: "There's a number of monuments and statues to John Batman in Melbourne, and I think there's a case to be made around perhaps them being given a less prominent place in our city."

Batman, who helped found Melbourne, participated in the capture of Indigenous Australians in the early 1800s.


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