1982

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Submission Number
1982
Participant
Porsha O'Brien
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

Porsha O’Brien

SA, 5606

15th August 2018

The Hon Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister Morrison,

My name is Porsha O’Brien and I’m a Year 12 student currently attending Port Lincoln High School. I
am both Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal belonging to the Wuthathi tribe in Cape York,
Queensland.

As part of my SACE completion I am undertaking a study into the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
During my research I have uncovered many sources of information regarding this issue, in particular
the upset it has caused many Australian people. As I understand, the terms of the bill were rejected
in Parliament, ultimately leaving my future as an Aboriginal woman unknown in respect to my voice
being heard. I was affected by the disregard for this revolutionary campaign that would change the
course of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s lives forever with the power to have a voice in their
affairs.

Constitutional reforms are the only avenue for the empowerment of Indigenous peoples of
Australia today. The implementation of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the constitution will
increase the social and economic status of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
It is evident that the policies we have in place at present are not sustainable, therefore leaving the
already disadvantaged Indigenous people vulnerable. I believe enforcing a First Nations Voice will
ensure the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are appropriately represented in Parliament in
relation to Indigenous affairs. In my experience, I have seen the displacement of Aboriginal
communities as a result of the last 200 years of oppression. To overcome this, we need to be given
the opportunity to have a voice in the Australian government that will warrant political change. The
Australian population is ready for this change, why aren’t you?

The second appropriation is for a Makarrata Commission to supervise the process of agreement-
making between governments and First Nations. This is an important component for Aboriginal
people as the word ‘makarrata’ comes from the Yolngu tribe meaning ‘coming together after a
struggle’. This is a fundamental advancement towards bridging the gap between the Australian
government and the First Nations people, thus signifying a united nation. Australia is the only
country that doesn’t have a treaty with their First Nations people, which I feel is a national tragedy.

Finally, the Uluru Statement from the Heart requests the truth telling about our history. This is
crucial because the historical mistreatment of Aboriginal people has been the root cause for many
of their current circumstances. People within my community do not have the knowledge nor the
understanding of the history of Australia and its First People, which I have seen lead to widespread
division. The truth telling of our history can only be properly taught if it is known and documented
in our historical story as a nation. The next step to education and understanding would be a
thorough implementation into the Australian Curriculum so all Australians and broader can gain an
understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history.

Your consideration on this matter is greatly appreciated as it resonates with me being an Indigenous
woman hoping to change the society we live in today.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Sincerely,

Porsha O’Brien