Politics

#NoTreesNoTreaty: Hundreds Gather At Vic Parliament To Demand Protection For Djab Wurrung Trees

"We say there's no consent. We've always said there's no consent."

djab wurrung protest

Hundreds of people have gathered at Victorian Parliament this morning to protest the impending destruction of birthing trees sacred to the Djab Wurrung people.

The state government has been planning to destroy the trees in order to expand a highway, despite the traditional owners of the land urging them to reconsider the highway route. The trees include an 800-year-old tree that has seen over 50 generations born inside of a hollow in her trunk, and a 350-year-old directions tree that has been shaped and resembles a woman.

Djab Wurrung traditional owners and supporters have been occupying the land beside the trees for over a year, setting up the Djab Wurrung Protection Embassy to shield the sacred site from the government.

Speaking today in front of Parliament, Djab Wurrung Lore Man Zellenach DT, who has been camped at the embassy for more than fourteen months, warned the government that “we are the land, so what you do to our country and do to our land, you do to us”, and called for supporters to stand up and join him on country to protect the site.

“That’s what our lore is based on — respect of women, respect of mother earth,” he said. “That’s where you get your principles from. You see, we have to stop thinking that we’re superior to country and our land. We have to stop thinking that we are separate from it. We are two and the same.”

“If someone was to come into your home, and decimate your home, and destroy your kids and their future, isn’t that what your father’s responsibility is? To stand up to them?”

“We say there’s no consent. We’ve always said there’s no consent. When anyone does business in this country, the foundation of the business that you conduct is built on respect. How can my people go in and do business when there’s no respect?”

“The war’s still continuing. Why are we acting like we’re honeymooning — why are we honeymooning with a treaty with this state government, when they’re doing this to our people? When they’re doing this to our country, our land? When are we going to stop doing this to ourselves?”

“The time for shame is done and dusted — the time for shame is a long time gone. We need to move towards action and change.”

The crowd moved through the streets outside Parliament chanting “no trees, no treaty”, pointing out that Victoria’s efforts to move towards a treaty with Indigenous people is pointless if those Indigenous people aren’t consulted on decisions like this.

“I’m a relentless human being, I won’t give up,” Zellenach concluded. “And I don’t care who I’ve gotta stand against. I don’t care what organisation I’ve gotta stand up to. And I don’t care what 9-5 mob I’ve gotta stand eye to eye to.”

You can find information on how to support the Djab Wurrung embassy here, or donate to the embassy fundraiser here.


Feature image via Twitter.