To whom it may concern
Co-design process: Submission for
Hi there, I'm from the UK but have lived in Australia for nine years with my Australian husband. I have worked extensively in Africa, Asia and the Carribean with communities struggling to have a voice in decisions that affect them. When I first arrived in Australia I worked for Link-Up Aboriginal Organisation, reuniting Aboriginal people from the Stolen Generations with their mob.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The Uluru Statement was a massive collaborative effort and holds an important message of hope for a more sustainable future of Australia that recognises Australia's First Nations as equal to us colonisers.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
There is no substitute for lived experience to communicate the needs of particular groups and better understand the drivers of wicked problems such as the calamity set out in the Close the Gap report. As the Uluru Statement says, 'Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them.' A Voice to Parliament will put lived experience at the decision making table allowing the development of policies and practices that will address the root causes, including structural racism, not just the symptoms as seen by white decision makers, which we've seen over the last 230 years has not worked for Australia's First Nations people. This will improve the lives of EVERYONE in EVERY community in Australia.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
It's important for EVERYONE to have a say in matters that affect them - indigenous or not. As white people, we often have blind spots around this because we have always been, and continue, to be the decision makers for everyone, white or not. People who look like us are the top leaders of the schools, businesses, institutions, and governments that decide how everyone will live, white or not. This marginalises non-white people from decision making, both through institutionalised and structural barriers, and through self-limiting ones. (If you can't see it, you can't be it'). It is particularly important for Indigenous people to have a say in the running of the country because Australia was never ceded - it was taken by force.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Because it will protect the Voice as a permanent fixture, impermeable to politicking and changes in Government.
I can't believe it's taken Australia this long to get to this point. NOW IS THE TIME.