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Submission Number
Adult Learning Australia
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

ALA support for the Uluru Statement and Voice to
Australian Parliament

March 2021

Adult Learning Australia

Adult Learning Australia (ALA) has been in operation for more than 60 years and is the
largest national peak body for adult community education in Australia. ALA exists to
provide leadership and professional development that advances quality services for all
adult learners.

ALA is a not-for-profit entity with both organisational and individual members in all states
and territories who reflect the diversity of adult learning and community education,
including community learning centres, community colleges, neighbourhood houses,
Aboriginal learning cooperatives, TAFEs and other adult education institutions.

Our vision is for equitable access to learning for all Australians to support social cohesion
and economic prosperity.

ALA is a trusted long-term leader in the field of adult learning and community education.
We believe in the power and potential of adult learning and community education to
transform lives and to affect both social and economic change. ALA values and promotes
the benefits of learning in all of its forms and is an active advocate in state, territory,
national and international communities.

ALA is committed to advancing the adult education and learning opportunities of First
Nations peoples. We actively reach out to include Indigenous people on our Board. Our
current Board includes one Indigenous Board member who works at a grassroots level
with First Nations peoples in NT and other Board members have extensive experience
working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) communities. Our membership
includes ATSI community education providers in metropolitan, rural and remote areas
across Australia, who work each day to advocate for and support First Nations adults to
engage in rich and fulfilling learning throughout their lives. ALA has a history of working
collegiately with ATSI adult education and learning organisations and has provided
scholarship funding through our Learning Changes Lives Foundation to help secure the
education and work prospects of ATSI individuals.

ALA Statement of Support

First Nations representatives have offered the nation a way forward through the Uluru
Statement from the Heart. It is an offering that invites all Australians to reflect deeply
about this country, the land, its history and its peoples. ALA welcomes the opportunity to
join with First Nations People on this journey of connection including acknowledgement
of the deep grief and loss that have occurred over the last two hundred and fifty years.
Australia will be a much better nation for embracing our First Nations Peoples voice to
guide and inform our country so that it can grow towards a healthy sustainable future.

The Australian Parliament must demonstrate true leadership and commitment towards
reconciliation, by adopting the statement and ensuring an Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander voice in Parliament’. Talk and good intentions will never be enough.
Empowerment needs to be embedded within a legal framework to guarantee the First
Nations voice will be heard.

In the Voice to Parliament, the Uluru Statement provides an opportunity to the
Australian people to address the ‘unfinished business’ of the history of this country, to
hold a truth and reconciliation process about the past, and to begin the pathway to
healing and making it right. Australia is a great nation; we can be better by giving our full
endorsement and commitment to the three key principles of The Uluru Statement.

ALA supports the three key positions put forward:

1. &The Australian Government must honour its election commitment to a
referendum once a model for the Voice has been settled &
2. &Enabling legislation for the Voice to Parliament must be passed after a
referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament &
3. &The membership model for the Voice to Parliament needs to reflect the diversity
of First Nations Peoples and ensure that those previously unheard Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples have the opportunity to be included and involved.

This acknowledgement is long overdue. If we are to move forward as a nation, we must
do so together.

It’s time for the Uluru Statement and Voice to Australian Parliament to have a rightful
place in the Australian Constitution. The most significant lifelong learning achievement
our nation as a whole could attain is enabling First Nations Peoples voice to be heard.
Support for the key principles of Uluru Statement provides a much needed opportunity
for an enriched Australia.