1436

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Submission Number
1436
Participant
A group of citizens
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

As a collective of individuals, we are moved by the Uluru Statement from the Heart in its simplicity and
generosity as a starting point for necessary, respectful and authentic dialogue between diverse groups.

We accept the invitation to walk, but acknowledge that we can not and do not speak for First Nations in
relation to how voice, treaty and truth should be enacted. We do ask that the Government accept the
invitation to walk and in doing so, allow itself to be led by its citizens, especially those most unheard
among us.

As a group of predominantly colonial-european descendents and immigrants, the Uluru Statement has
led us to a deeper contemplation of the meaning of citizenship in the Australian context. Central to our
understanding of citizenship is the notion of connectedness between individuals, groups of individuals
and communities that together comprise our society. This is a continual process defined by engagement
with each other and the myriad identities that all Australian citizens bring to the discussion.

In our professional and academic lives, we are committed to working with organisations to discover and
listen to all of the voices that are held by their members, employees and stakeholders. It is through this
exploration and listening, filled with tension and conflict though it may be, that true connection and
shared learning is made possible.

Although Indigenous people have individual voices as part of Australia’s (Western) democratic processes,
there is an important collective voice that is not being listened to. And there are so many Indigenous
voices who have been forever silenced by colonial settlement that the imbalance of powerful voices in
our present day democracy is plain and cruel. This missing voice results in our collective loss of
connectedness between groups within and across the Australian citizenry.

And so, we participate here in this process not just for ourselves, but for the people and generations who
follow us. We write for emerging leaders and elders of all cultures and for our children. We speak up,
recognising that many who might want to haven’t yet found their voice, or maybe lost it long ago.

In supporting the Voice, we would also ask the Government to not just view this as the end of a process
and limited only to a Voice that provides advice. It must be seen as an important step taken by the
current generation to explore new possibilities that future generations can build on to create new modes
of connectedness between Indigenous and colonial/immigrant Australians. We call on the Government
to pursue the necessary referendum to formalise and legitimise Indigenous Voices to parliament and
Government.
We value the idea of makaratta, outlined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. From this position of
coming together after a struggle, we know that our own roles in the coming together will bring up many
unknowns, confronting challenges, and new experiences. We are here for this: as ready as we can be in
stepping in to the struggle, not away from it. We ask the government to not be overwhelmed by or give
in to dominant voices expressing fear. We believe in the role of government to assist all citizens in not
just having a voice, but also in learning how to listen. Through listening, we can set out to arrive at a
place that sees treaty(ies) not as a collective sacrifice, but as a collective benefit in something much
richer. This message offers direction and hope for people, and is a message that governments can show
leadership in promoting and exploring.

As Thomas Brideson, CEO of Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia, has recently said, "If the only thing
that we ever do is the same thing we did yesterday, then tomorrow is not going to change one little bit.”
We must seek change together.

Truth telling is important to us. Part of understanding and acknowledging the truth requires creating
spaces and listening to voices in more honest discussion and debate that recognises and values different
voices. We are ready for the discomfort and disruption the ‘voice’ will bring and how hard it may be to
truly listen and sit with our shame.

We are hopeful and - more than hopeful - filled with expectation, that our governments will lead a
positive, proactive discourse about our mutual roles in creating a better future, together. In makaratta.

A group of citizens

Judy Kent

Margo Lockhart

Deb Martindale

Paul Dore

Sally Mussared

Seth Thomasson

Susan Campbell