Dear Prime Minister and elected members of our current Federal Parliament.
I am an Anglo Celtic senior Australian and I wish to make it clear that in the event of a future Referendum seeking constitutional enshrinement of an Indigenous Advisory Voice to Parliament I would very definitely vote YES.
I read that you Prime Minister recently stated that the Australian people do not have an appetite for this kind of change.
I interact widely in my community and I do not know such people. Perhaps you are not in touch with your electorates ? Recent events on other & varied levels support that this might well be the case.
I do not wish to dwell here on the more than 200 years of deep shame and systemic failures of my many elected governments since my peoples invasion/settlement of this country.
NOW is an opportunity to begin a redress -a sincere and action focussed acknowledgment of a recent past that brings only deep shame. And shame to Australia in the eyes of a watching world.
I am not in a position to make informed technical observations on the ‘shape’ of the Voice, other than to say it must ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people whose voices have previously not been heard have the same chance of being selected as established leadership people.
Once the nature of the Voice is agreed upon, the Government must honour its pre 2018 election commitment to hold a referendum in the next term of Parliament. I believe it is essential that an Indigenous Advisory Body to parliament be embedded in the constitution before being legislated by government. Our country has a history littered with government abolished or otherwise unsupported Indigenous advisory bodies. Constitutional enshrinement allows the Australian people to make a choice and will provide certainty, longevity and empowerment for our First Nations on the road to authentic reconciliation between Australia’s First Nations and its non Indigenous citizens.
I thank the Team which has worked for a year to produce a remarkably detailed document of alternative models of the operation of a Voice to Parliament.
And to acknowledge that this work paves the way for the current government to confidently take the case for constitutional enshrinement of a Voice to the people in a Referendum.
I am glad to now add my voice to the many in support of The Uluru Statement from the Heart and for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament to be enshrined in the Australian Constitution.
Frances M Kelly