1933

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Submission Number
1933
Participant
Anita Menhofer
Submission date

Anita Menhofer
Glen Huon, TAS 7109

Dear Co-Design Body

Submission to Co-design process

I migrated to Australia from Germany 26 years ago, initially for a PhD degree at UNSW. For 13 years, I ran a tourism business, both on the North Coast of NSW and in Central Australia, where we worked together with an Aboriginal Community. I moved to Tasmania 6 years ago.

Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
Ever since I migrated to Australia, I have been appalled by the disadvantage of our indigenous people. There has been no real acknowledgement of the British invasion, the dispossession, the genocide, and the on-going impoverishment, lack of self-determination, and imprisonment. The Uluru Statement from the Heart is important because Aboriginal people from across the continent worked and agreed on it, and the on-going disadvantage of Aboriginal people can only be solved if THEIR solutions are supported and implemented. Their dis-empowerment has to end.

Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
The Voice to Parliament needs to be enshrined in the Constitution and not just legislated, so that not any government of the day can easily roll back the legislation - as happens all the time for ideological reasons. To make the Voice a constitutional right makes it a fundamental right of our indigenous people.

How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
It would establish that Aboriginal communities are heard and consulted in their own matters. Maybe something like the above mentioned Intervention wouldn't just happen away from the awareness of most Australians, who have little idea of the impact of such measures. I was overseas when it was rolled out and read more about it in foreign newspapers than what was at best 'low-key' reporting within Australia.

Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
Time and time again, it has been shown that so-called 'solutions' designed and implemented by our dominant white culture and politicians fail as they lack understanding, don't acknowledge indigenous knowledge, culture and solutions, and continue to dis-empower Aboriginal people, for example the atrocious Northern Territory Intervention, which should have seen hundred of thousands of Australians protesting.

It was a sad day for indigenous people and for all Australians when the government rejected in no time at all the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which was an incredible journey and achievement to arrive at after consulting Aboriginal Communities throughout Australia. We can all learn a lot from such a process and culture. In contrast, we vote for persons and parties, but never on content, on which we have no say in our democracy. While I don't believe a Voice to Parliament will solve all the issues inflicted on Aboriginal people, it is a starting point. Hopefully a starting point for a treaty and real self-determination.

Kind regards,
Anita Menhofer