To Co-Design Body
Submission for Co-design process
I am a law and media and communication graduate, working at Hall & Wilcox. I live in the Brisbane CBD (Turrbal land), but grew up in Mt Warren Park, Queensland.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
Representatives of the Indigenous people of this nation gathered in 2017 at the National Constitutional Convention and reached out to their fellow Australians. They released a statement that emanates both conviction and vulnerability - they reminded us their children are proportionally the most incarcerated people on the planet. They told us that for 60,000 years their people enjoyed peaceful enjoyment of their land. That changed 200 years ago when their peace turned to powerlessness. They have every entitlement to demand redress, but instead they have asked for Makarrata: the culmination of agendas, the coming together after a struggle.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
Self-determination is a universal human right. It is enshrined in article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and in article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Australia is a signatory to both. Our Government can condemn the brutality against the Rohingya in Myanmar, yet at home our Indigenous people were not recognised as human beings until 1967 and are yet to be recognised in our nation's ultimate source of law.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
The Apologies are not enough, it is our responsibility to be constantly working on reconciliation. I will be admitted as an officer of court in October this year. I do not want to be part of a legal framework that perpetuates systemic racism, injustice, ignorance and disenfranchisement. I do not want our main source of law, from which the three arms of government source their powers - to reek of exclusion. I know redress of our nation's race problems cannot occur overnight, but constitutional recognition can. So let's do it.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
Yes, Constitutional recognition will not redress any of the plethora of injustices faced by the Indigenous community. As Kombumerri woman and academic said, Mary Graham, says that “constitutional recognition is a way of promising something, but with no real substance”. But it is at least a step in right direction. It will mean the next generation is educated more about our nation's past. It blows my mind that even I, having only graduated in 2014, was not educated about Indigenous sovereignty and culture beyond the didgeridoo. As the proverb goes, by learning from the past, we can prevent same mistakes from happening again.