Dear Co-Design Body
I'm a mother of 2 and currently completing my Master of Marine Science. I moved to Australia when I was 8 and spent my school years in a small regional town in northern NSW with a large local indigenous community.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
Giving indigenous people constitutional recognition and a permanent voice in parliament is an important step towards achieving reconciliation and addressing the historical abuse of indigenous people in Australia.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
My experiences living in Armidale and later in Redfern during the time of the Redfern riots showed me the systemic inequalities that indigenous people still face. But I also saw positive changes brought about by indigenous leaders in the community who knew how best to address the serious social issues surrounding these communities.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Because enshrining in the constitution makes it permanent and less subject to political opposition. It also makes it a more significant step towards recognition of the historical abuse of indigenous people which is important for reconciliation and moving forwards.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
Everyone benefits from addressing the social inequalities still faced by indigenous peoples, which are best dealt with by indigenous leaders. As a high school student, and a resident in Redfern I not only observed the issues facing indigenous people but these issues impacted non indigenous people as well. In both areas crime rates dropped and a sense of community was increased after indigenous leaders were supported to make changes in the community. Attempts by non indigenous people, particularly non indigenous authority figures like police, to address these issues were not effective and even counter productive.