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Towards a Northern Territory Treaty - Treaty Principles


The principles guiding the treaty consultation process, as laid out in the MoU, are:

  • It is envisaged that should a Treaty ultimately be negotiated, it will be the foundation of lasting reconciliation between the First Nations of the Territory and other citizens with the object of achieving a united Northern Territory.
  • All Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory need to be heard and the consultation process agreed to in this MoU needs to be inclusive, accessible and transparent to all.
  • Traditional owners, as the original owners and occupiers of the Northern Territory, and represented by the Aboriginal land councils, are integral to consultation concerning a Treaty.
  • All Territorians should ultimately benefit from any Treaty agreed in the Northern Territory.
  • The NT Government must not exclude from discussions any legitimate issue raised by the parties or other Aboriginal people for inclusion in a Treaty while the consultation process agreed to in this MoU is underway.

It is agreed that:

  • Aboriginal people, the First Nations, were the prior owners and occupiers of the land, seas and waters that are now called the Northern Territory of Australia.
  • The First Nations of the Northern Territory were self-governing in accordance with their traditional laws and customs.
  • First Nations peoples of the Northern Territory never ceded sovereignty of their lands, seas and waters.
  • It is also agreed there has been deep injustice done to the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory, including violent dispossession, the repression of their languages and cultures, and the forcible removal of children from their families, which have left a legacy of trauma, and loss that needs to be addressed and healed.
  • The Treaty must provide for substantive outcomes and honour the Articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Recognising that a treaty is of much wider significance than a normal agreement between the State and Indigenous peoples, it is also recognised that Treaty making involves the acceptance of responsibilities and obligations by all parties.
  • The Treaty should aim to achieve successful co-existence between all Territorians, which starts with “truth telling” and involves hearing about, acknowledging and understanding the consequences of the Northern Territory’s history.