Dear Co-Design Body
Submission to Co-design process
I am a white woman of colonial ancestry (English, Scottish, Chinese). I live on the beautiful Country of the Melukerdee people in southern lutruwita/Tasmania. I am a public health journalist who works alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues and friends. I am making this submission in a private capacity, not on behalf of any organisation.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
Justice. Truth. Healing. For the health and wellbeing of current and future generations. Representation matters. Truth telling matters. It is about listening to the voices of many First Nations and many First Nations peoples. It is part of addressing the systemic racism that is so embedded in Australia, including in current systems of governance. It is important because the systems of governance that we have now in Australia are patently unjust, inequitable, unfair, and harmful to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Because that is what has been asked for, by the Uluru Statement, and all the discussions and meetings that informed the statement. Because that will be more powerful, influential and lasting. Because it is well past time that Governments listened to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and treated them and their aspirations with respect.
Why do you think Australia needs a Voice to Parliament?
Because history shows that the lack of this Voice has too often resulted in policies that are harmful for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and not in their best interests. Because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people hold the knowledge and expertise to deliver the outcomes they value and want. Because I believe that all Australians, including non-Indigenous people, will benefit from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people having a greater influence on policy making across the board.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
Justice, human rights, equity, health, and wellbeing. Ensuring policies, practices and spaces are culturally safe. Addressing racism. Fundamentally: This Always Was, Always Will Be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands. First Nations people have a fundamental right to have a say in all the matters affecting their Country.