Sandgate Q 4017
Dear Co-Design Body
Co-design process: Submission for Victoria Newton
Hi - my name is Victoria Newton and I live on Yuggera country (Sandgate, Brisbane). While I was born in Sydney Australia before my parents moved to Brisbane when I was 2, my family background is all European ancestry. I have completed Higher Education: BA (Australian Political Economy) and MBA - both at Griffith University. I am current a Senior Policy Advisor to the Labor Opposition Leader in Brisbane City Council, and have previously been a Marketing and Communications Manager for a trade union, worked for a training company and before that I was a Brisbane City Councillor.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
Simply put: * It's time we truly came to terms with understanding the history of Australia from the perspective of the first nations people who were deliberately dispossessed of their connection to country, culture, language - and family. * We need truth-telling to heal the past - and understand the intergenerational damage that was done. * We need to understand as a nation there is more than one way to do things. As a nation we have the opportunity to learn so much from the people whose ancestors have been here for over 60,000 years. * We need to change the way decision-making happens - especially when it comes to decisions impacting on indigenous people (who are currently disempowered). We need a collaborative, co-design approach where indigenous people are involved and engaged with matters that are impacting their friends, family, community and themselves.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
I can't speak for how it may improve the lives of indigenous people in my community. I would say we would be richer as a nation if we walk together on this journey.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
It's long overdue that Australia embedded processes whereby Australia's first nations people, who are the oldest continuous cultures on this planet, have a real and meaningful say in this country. For 250 years, dangerously misguided and paternalistic attitudes of the colonial have been so damaging. Higher rates of incarceration, drug and alcohol abuse, increased rates of violence and lower life expectancies are a direct result of this damage. We need to change our approach, develop a collaborative co-design approach where indigenous people have a say. And we need a process to formalise and embed this.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
It is important to enshrine a Voice to Parliament in the constitution for indigenous Australians to ensure there is a legislated framework for this to occur. To simply rely on an informal agreement, which can change at the whim of the Government of the day, will not provide the certainty indigenous Australians deserve. This is a long journey we need to walk, so there needs to be certainty.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a significant turning point for Australia. It offers a pathway forward - determined by indigenous Australians and not imposed. I am optimistic about the future of our nation when we stop and truly listen to the Voices from the Heart. Thank you for this opportunity to make this submission.