Dear Co-Design Body
Submission for Co-design process
I am an almost 50 year old single mother of two boys whom have been brought up to respect the land on which we live and the First Nations people who cared for it long before we came. I have spent time with the Adnyamathanha mob in South Australia, Arrernte mob in Central Australia and the Goolarabooloo mob in Broome. My children and I walked the Lurujarri Trail in 2012 and spent an unforgettable time with Uncle Eddie on his land. I have walked with Uncle Kevin Buzzacot at the Tent Embassy and in Alberrie Creek on Arabunna land. I organised a community of women to participate in the Booeegigat Tongberangi Birthrites Quilt project to raise awareness of the unacceptably high infant and maternal mortality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders mothers and babies. I have attended countless marches to stand with First Nations brothers and sisters in having their voices heard by our colonial rulers. I am currently completing my Bachelor of Health Science (honours) degree in Homoeopathy with Middlesex University overseas due to our government no longer recognising the benefits of this health modality and cutting all funding for courses in Australia. I have completed my Bachelor of Arts degree at Deakin University, on the unceded lands of the Wadawurrung and my Advanced Diploma of Homoeopathy at Endeavour College, on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri. I grew up on Wurundjeri land but with no knowledge of First Nations history as the truth of the massacres in Australia was not taught in school. I now live and work on Wadawurrung land.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
I believe the Uluru Statement from the Heart is an important step forward in recognising the true history of Australia. If we are to truly move forward in reconciliation then First Nations people must be acknowledged and First Nations representatives must hold a place in the government system in order for agreements to be made that are fair and equitable.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
We need a constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice that will give a degree of permanency, rather than legislation that can be changed with each change of Government. If it is not in our Constitution then it is a continuation of the governments lip service without action.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
The true history of the area in which I live can be shared with the community and significant sites can be honoured as can those First Nations people who have come before us and cared for this land. Future decisions on land development can be more appropriately made in consultation with First Nations knowledge. Our current education system perpetuates the colonial system and doesn't meed the needs of all. I believe each school could incorporate the local First Nations language and culture as part of the curriculum together with landcare knowledge specific to each area based on First Nations knowledge.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
Every sovereign being should have a say in the matters that affect them, why would it be any different for Indigenous people? Imagine we flip the situation and have First Nations people making decisions for the English? I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate it.
I am tired of listening to each successive government's empty promises about reconciliation and closing the gap and apology to our indigenous people. They are entitled to a voice in our government and we could all learn from their knowledge about how to be the best custodians of this land we call Australia. The knowledge they hold about land usage, working in harmony with the climate and nature, natural medicine, community support and how to be more connected as a people to one another and to the land on which we live is priceless and I hope that the Uluru Statement from the Heart enables such knowledge to be shared for the benefit of all Australians. I hope that it enables real truth telling and real agreement making where we all benefit.