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Yoo-rrook Justice Commission

Category: Organisation
Date: 12 May 2021
Sub Category:Statutory Body
State/Country:Victoria, Australia
Alternative Names:
  • Yoorrook Justice Commission
  • Subject Matter:Law - Policy and Justice | Reconciliation | Research
    Summary Information:

    The Yoo-rrook Justice Commission was formally established in May 2021 as the nation's first truth-telling process in response to generations of advocacy by Aboriginal Victorians.

    Detailed Information:


    Yoo-rrook means 'truth' in the Wemba Wemba / Wamba Wamba language, which is spoken in the north-west region of Victoria (First People's Assembly of Victoria).

    The First People's Assembly of Victoria describes truth-telling as "a process of openly sharing historical truths after periods of conflict ... [that] acknowledges human rights violations by promoting the voices of communities who have been victims of these violations."

    The Yoo-rrook Justice Commission was established as a Royal Commission under s 5 of the Inquiries Act 2014 (Vic). Commissioners were appointed to inquire into and report on the following issues (Letters Patent, Yoo-rrook Justice Commission):

    • Historical systematic injustice perpetrated by State and non-State entities against First Peoples since the start of Colonisation.
    • Ongoing systematic injustice perpetrated by State and non-State entities against First Peoples.
    • The causes and consequences of systematic injustices.
    • How historical systematic injustice can be effectively and fairly acknowledged and remedied in a culturally appropriate way.
    • How ongoing systematic Injustice can be addressed, and/or remedied.
    • How best to raise awareness and increase public understanding of the history and experiences of First Peoples before and since the start of colonisation. 

    Key Functions

    The Yoo-rrook Justice Commission will look into both past and ongoing injustices experienced by Traditional Owners and First Peoples in Victoria in all areas of life since colonisation.

    The Commission's key functions are to:

    1. Establish an official record of the impact of colonisation on First Peoples in Victoria using First People's voices: 

      The Yoo-rrook Justice Commission will inquire into and report on both historical and ongoing systematic injustices perpetrated against First Peoples. This investigation will cover systematic injustices committed since colonisation by the State, and non-State entities, across all areas of social, political and economic life.

    2. Make detailed recommendations about practical actions and reforms needed in Victoria:

      The Commission is expected to make detailed recommendations for changes to law, policy and education, as well as matters to be included in future Treaties.

      The Commission is required to deliver an interim report to the Victorian Government by 30 June 2022 and a final report by 30 June 2024.


    The five Yoo-rrook Justice Commissioners who will lead the Commission are:

    • Professor Eleanor Bourke (Chair), a Wergaia/Wamba Wamba elder with decades of leadership and dedication to advancing Aboriginal education and cultural heritage.
    • Dr Wayne Atkinson, a Yorta Yorta/Dja Dja Wurrung Elder and Traditional Owner and accomplished academic with substantial knowledge and experience in human rights, land justice, cultural heritage and Koori oral history programs.
    • Ms Sue-Anne Hunter, a Wurundjeri and Ngurai Illum Wurrung woman recognised as a leader in trauma and healing practices.
    • Distinguished Professor Maggie Walter, a Palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) woman descending from the Pairrebenne People of the North East Nation, and a Distinguished Professor of Sociology, and leading expert in systemic disadvantage, inequality and Indigenous Data Sovereignty.
    • Professor the Honourable Kevin Bell AM QC, director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law in the Faculty of Law at Monash University and a former judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

    Related Entries

  • First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria
  • Legislation
  • Inquiries Act 2014 (Vic)

  • References

    General Reference
    First People's Assembly of Victoria Yoo-rrook Justice Commission
    Parliamentary Paper
    Linda Dessau (12/05/2021) Letters Patent Yoo-rrook Justice Commission

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