2052

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
2052
Participant
Anonymous
Submission date

I am an Australian of Irish, English and European descent. My wife and children are Australian and Belgian citizens. I am university educated, a professional, confident and knowledgeable about the history, development, strengths and weaknesses of Western liberal-democratic laws and institutions. I speak five European languages. I feel at home and comfortable in this environment. My culture, my ancestors have created these norms and institutions and cultural treasures, in languages I understand, most importantly in my native language and that of my wife and children. I am a part of the system and an implicit consent to enjoy its privileges in return for fulfilling its responsibilities has been passed down for centuries, in several different countries, through my ancestors to me, my wife and our children.

What is my point? That indigenous Australians can say exactly the same thing - but about a different set of laws and norms and institutions and cultural treasures. These also have been created over centuries by their ancestors, in many languages and 'countries'. Today's indigenous Australians are born into that unbroken chain, and have given their consent to the rights and responsibilities of that cultural system . This is no different now than 1788.

Over three years teaching in a remote Aboriginal community in the NT I realised that without a treaty between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians there is no moral, philosophical or legal compulsion for Indigenous Australians to submit to the responsibilities imposed by 'Australian' civil society, and no clear right for them to enjoy its privileges. To claim that Australian Citizenship confers these rights and responsibilities on us all is false. Unless we have a treaty, non-Indigenous society is forcing Australian Citizenship on Indigenous society without ever asking its consent or opinion on the matter. To be fair, the same applies in reverse. Without a treaty there is no compulsion on either group to share the bounty and advantages of their culture with the other, nor to respect the other's laws and customs.

The time has come for all Australians to actually be asked and to agree to joining our unique cultures together to form an equal, united Australia. Without a treaty we will always be divided and a Voice to Parliament is at least a step towards a full Treaty.