To whom it may concern
Submission to Co-design process
Hello, My name is Aengus Cullinan, I’m not a traditional owner of Australia, I was born in Australia and am a fourth generation historical resident of Australia. I’m an artist, gardener, carpenter living in the north east of Germany, at a Centre for the arts. I studied Architecture at the University of Queensland. I grew up in Brisbane.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
Uluru Statement is important to me because the injustice and inequality, the lack of understanding or misrepresentation of aboriginal people is systemic and the system of oppression needs to be changed. It is part of an incremental change, which is cohesive and inclusive of both experience and wisdom essential to making these systemic changes.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
I feel the voice is an incremental step in a healing journey for all Australians. The voices of indigenous Australians is necessary for the grass roots informed voices to be heard at a federal level. The two way sharing of information is also essential for ongoing communication to build on experiences and wisdom, and to dismantle the ingrained injustices in the present system. By enshrining the voice in the constitution many indigenous Australians not having a voice at either local or federal level, will be heard, independent of election results. This is a step to enshrining justice in a democracy that has failed to serve the disadvantaged and oppressed.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
For me the colonization of Australia has meant immeasurable trauma and hardship on the traditional owners of this country. Consecutive systems of Australian governments and law have oppressed, disempowered, implementing racism, and misogyny for the duration of their existence to forward the interests of those in power. Voices need to be heard on all levels of government, knowledge and wisdom needs to passed on, informed decision making that brings all concerned peoples voices to the table is the only way to bring justice for indigenous Australians. Aboriginal communities know their responsibilities, they understand how injustice as oppressed them. They are, through experience, the most informed on issues affecting them, knowing how to empower themselves into a future of self determination.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
As an historical resident or new Australian, I feel complicit in the atrocities that decimated a culture intimately connected to land and its peoples. My life was enjoyed on the privileges I experienced, which came at a price. It was through dispossession, murder, systemic violence, that continues to this day that I was able to live the life I did in Australia. I feel these two quotes express pretty clearly how I feel. “ Our narcissistic insecurities about our place in the world rest in large part on our concern that there is an ‘emptiness’ at the Centre of Australian identity. It would seem inevitable that such an emptiness will persist as long as we feel the need to deny aspects of our history…Such an identity will always have a certain hollowness to it.” Sarah Maddison “No Australian today is responsible for what happened on our colonial frontier. But we are responsible for not acknowledging what happened. If we do not, our integrity as a nation is flawed and we are shamed as a people for perpetuating a lie.” Timothy Bottoms I see the empowering of traditional landowners of Australia brings many positive changes to every Australian. The recognition of traditional landowners again as the self determining empowered people they were prior to colonization would return a feeling of self worth, not only to indigenous Australians, it’s important to all Australians.
I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all those who have worked so hard in making this submission possible. I offer my encouragement and support to this process of empowerment that I feel is absolutely essential to making every Australians future everything it can be.