As members of the Victorian Jewish community, we walk today with our friends and allies in remembrance and appreciation of William Cooper and to reciprocate the march that he led on the German Consulate in Melbourne on the 6th December 1938.
While world leadership watched in silent disbelief to the events of Kristallnacht, Uncle William Cooper, the Secretary of the Australian Aborigines’ League and an elder of the Yorta Yorta, led the only known private protest against the Nazi regime.
At a time when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people were themselves denied citizenship and other basic human rights, and where they were frequently subjected to appalling physical, social and economic hardships, he choose to stand for our people and our future.
Today, exactly 80 years later, we seek to honour William Cooper’s memory by making a similar stand on behalf of his people and their future.
We do this by calling on our elected leaders to work together to establish a just Treaty that recognises and acknowledges our nation's First People and ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people have a lasting voice in our national Parliament.