The Uluru Statement spoke beautifully of the need for a fair, just and truthful relationship between First Nations people and other Australians. For too long, Australia, it’s people and it’s Parliament have ignored the voices of First Nations People, and the truth of our shared history. As a non-indigenous Australian I strongly support an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to the Australian Parliament, enshrined in the Constitution.
I also support the proposals put forward that;
1. The government must honour its election commitment to a referendum once the model for the Voice has been settled
2. Enabling legislation for the Voice must be passed after a referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament
3. The membership model for the National Voice must ensure previously unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the same chance of being selected as established leadership figures.
As a person who grew up in country Victoria I know that we were not taught the truth about our history, and that many within our communities still are in denial. This denial is supported by the inaction they have witnessed from our Government. This has to change in order for us to move forward. There can be no peace without justice and no justice without truth. A Voice to Parliament makes it clear to all that we value the voices and wisdom of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
The step to enshrine a Voice to Parliament is both long overdue and inevitable. It is critical that we demonstrate support for the creation of a representative body that will Voice the needs, aspirations and intentions of indigenous people to our Parliament with enshrined, clear authority. We have the choice to be on the right side of history and get this done. This is a fair, safe and practical proposal that will allow us all to walk together in right relationship.