Dear Co-Design Body
Submission to Co-design process
I'm a gardener, writer, photographer, mother, wife. I've written 8 gardening books and am the horticultural editor of the ABC's Organic Gardener magazine and write for both the magazine and the website. i have a BSc in botany in zoology. I am passionate about the environment and about people, and believe that in a good society all people, animal, plants and the environment more generally should be cared for. Despite my relatively conventional upbringing in suburban Melbourne, my deep sympathy and understanding with and for our First Nation's people began with my father Edward who was the Royal Commissioner for the 1973-74 Aboriginal Land Rights Royal Commission.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
Our First Nations peoples should have a say in all levels of life in Australia. Their culture should be taught in our schools. There should be a truth telling system that admits the wrongs that have been done to our First Nations Peoples since white people first came to this continent. Their presence and rights should be enshrined into our constitution. They should have a voice to parliament.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Anything that is included by legislation, can be changed by a later government. Anything enshrined in the constitution can only be changed by the will of the majority of the population in referendum. This change needs to be permanent, not subject to the will of a government.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
First Nations peoples have had decisions made for them since white people first came to Australia. They should always be consulted and listened to in all matters that directly effect their lives. This is the only way that we can be sure that they are getting the respect, understanding, opportunities and care that they need.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
First Nations peoples have an understanding and insight into Australia that no other members of our population has. Their thousands of years of occupation, the structure of their society, their understanding of the land and the environment would give us a unique perspective on the land and society that is home to us all.
It has taken too much time for us to reach this point, we must not lose the momentum. We cannot be a united people until our First Nations Peoples are elevated to their rightful place in our society, and given their rights, freedoms, status and the care to which they are entitled.