John Bond OAM
Oxford OX3 0ET UK
To Co-Design Body
Submission to Co-design process
I was the Secretary of the National Sorry Day Committee from 1998 until 2006, and was awarded the OAM for services to Australia through the National Sorry Day Committee. I am co-author with Brian Butler, first Chair of SNAICC and former ATSIC Commissioner, of 'Sorry and Beyond', a history of the Sorry Day and Journey of Healing campaigns published by the Aboriginal Studies Press.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
For the wellbeing of all Australians, and for our security as a nation, we need a relationship of trust and respect between Aboriginal Australia and the wider community. The Uluru Statement offers an opportunity to build that relationship. We need to encourage the Australian Government and community to seize this opportunity.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities need to be heard in the official processes of governance. This will increase the readiness of government institutions to respond positively.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
Every community needs a say in the matters which affect them. That is the heart of democracy.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
So that the Voice cannot be abolished by a new Government in the way that ATSIC was abolished, removing an important statutory institution which acted as a voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
At present Australia lags far behind New Zealand, Canada and the USA in Indigenous statutory institutions - and in statistics of Indigenous wellbeing such as life expectancy. implementing the proposal of the Uluru Statement from the Heart will help Australia to catch up.