To whom it may concern
Co-design process: Submission for Brad Leahy
I grew up in Applecross, a privileged suburb of Perth in the 1960’s and 1970’s. There were several Aboriginal children who attended my primary school who all lived with a white family on Matheson Rd, who I only realised as an adult were children from the stolen generation. I have been fortunate to have graduated from Perth Modern School with a music scholarship, then Curtin University with a Bachelor of Applied Science, UWA with a Master of Science, then Edith Cowan University with an MBA. I have won awards for music, science and business. I was an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Virology at Curtin University and recently won a Global Excellence Award with my current employer in the Pharmaceutical Industry. I want to make a contribution to closing the gap, to ensuring truth telling, to recognising the first Australians in our constitution, and making sure future generations of Australians understand and appreciate the most incredible and prescious asset that exists right under our noses - the most ancient and longest surviving culture on the planet, and the greatest environmentalists in the world.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
Modern Australia has never been open to truth telling, when it comes to the relationship between European and Indigenous Australians. Much like what has happened with #metoo it is time we let the truth be a healing for all of us.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
Indigenous Australians are the original environmentalists. They have been the environmental and spiritual custodians of the fragile land long before the first Europeans. Their culture is in danger of extinction. A voice to Parliament could help ensure the community of my children and grandchildren is blessed with an appreciation of the land that we share, and that all Australians have the chance to thrive regardless of their racial background.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
The constitution is the most fundamental charter of our country. Laws can be made and other laws can change them. The constitution underpins who we are as Australians, not just what is legal and what is not.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
There is a quiet wisdom amongst Indigenous Australians that needs to be heard. So often, when there is crisis or conflict, reasonable dialogue is drowned out by shouting and anger. On both sides. Indigenous Australians have important insights into cultural sensitivities that are so often misunderstood by non indigenous Australians. They also have a connection with the land that is not only important from a cultural/spiritual perspective, but could also be the way forward from an environmental viewpoint. They have a fundamental human right to be heard and to have a say in their present and their future.
I hope in my lifetime that I can help make a difference to this issue. I love the fact that many places now have dual names that recognise both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous heritages in concert with one another. The Uluru Statement is an entirely reasonable and respectful request from our Indigenous brothers and sisters that warrants action in our lifetime. I gladly join in their chorus for change.