Submissions: Your Feedback

Submissions from people and organisations who have agreed to have their feedback published are provided below.

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Submission Number
Gemma Black
Submission date

Gemma Black
Tasmania 7006

To whom it may concern

Submission for Co-design process

My name is Gemma Black. My ancestry is European, sixth generation Australian, with ancestors both convict and free. I live in Tasmania where I have a studio-based practice as a calligrapher and lettering artist. I am a maker of written artefacts, documents to be held in perpetuity for Governments and private organisations alike. Prior to this I lived in Canberra where I raised my family and established my arts practice. In 2008 I approached the Commonwealth Government to create a lasting document for our future generations to remember the indignities suffered by Aboriginal generations, hence the Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples. That document is on display at Parliament House in Canberra for let's hope a long long time to come. I felt it so important that the weight of the apology message and all it entailed, will never be forgotten. As an artist, like many artists, we speak through our work. For me to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and to have First Nations People Voice enshrined in the Australian constitution gives me, my family and friends a sense that we have contributed to firstly it being the right thing to do and for us all to have hope for our future generations together.

Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The Ululru Statement is hugely important and has come not a minute too soon. By bringing Indigenous People together to firmly make this Statement as one I feel it a necessary step in the fundamental structure leading on to the next "gigantic" yet doable step, enshrinement of Voice, Treaty & Truth. It is not just recognition, to my mind it is recognition with a Voice and an outcome that will be accepted by all Australians.

Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
It's time. Now, it's time. I feel that whether Indigenous or not every person has the fundamental human right to have a say in matters that will affect them. Of course this is not the case broadly speaking for First Nations People as a whole. The Australian government must now listen more acutely and possibly dare I suggest have a closer look at the Declaration for Human Rights. All too often an Indigenous person's rights are abused to which the Australian Government should be held to account. It would be naive to think this will happen in every case but speaking up and speaking out now with as much support and gusto as can be mustered, good things will happen and you/we will have played an hugely important role in saving a proud race of people.

How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
I live primarily in a non Indigenous community. I would like to see more people like me support the call for the Aboriginal Voice in Parliament so as to enrich non Indigenous people lives so that they can live in an environment of equality void of fear due to the colour of their skin. My own community would welcome the change felt by our Indigenous fellow countrymen.

Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
It will be tangible. To date there has been nothing really tangible to hang on to from which to sway a nation's thought. To ensure that the human rights of future generations of Indigenous Australians are secured on a legal and ongoing platform with continued positive outcomes. Now, at this time, I believe the Australian people by way of referendum will clearly show that the Voice to Parliament should and will be enshrined in the constitution. My reading of it is that constitutional change is extremely difficult and that there has been little change over the past couple of hundred years. This I also believe is the most important change ever so I am will and supportive of all Australians make this happen.

Much action is needed to bring about real change in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Australians' equal status in the Australian community, health, education and general well-being. To that end the Voice to Parliament will give a formal and legal platform to use as a springboard to make a real and comprehensive difference to all. This is the TRUTH - it is life and death ...

Thank you,
Gemma Black