Mount Gravatt East Qld 4122
To Co-Design Body
Submission for Co-design process
I am a non-indigenous Australian who grew up in a privileged white environment
ignorant of the history of Indigenous Australia. I am a professional who has worked in
the field of environmental planning and assessment for over 25 years. This work has
provided me the opportunity to work with a number of Aboriginal communities and to
experience the deep connection that Aboriginal people have with the land and sea. The
lack of self-determination in management of their land and sea country is continually
apparent in my everyday work it is time white Australia recognised the fact that
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples never ceded sovereignty of their lands and
sea and that it is time to recognise their sovereign rights.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is just that, it is a representative statement of the
270 plus Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups across Australia. As part of that
gathering representatives agreed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples need
a Voice should be that is protected by the Australian Constitution and supported by all
Australians via a referendum.
The Government must honour its election commitment to a referendum once a model for
the Voice has been settled to ensure that a First Nations Voice to Parliament is
protected by the Constitution, legislative change is not permanent and as with Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander policy since Federation, it will continue to be a short-term
political football. The Voice needs to have Constitutional recognition and the ability to
provide advice own advice on any parliamentary business it deems relevant to its
responsibility as the preeminent representative body in the structure of Government.
This could not be achieved via a legislative body.
A Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution means empowering Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples to have a direct say in laws and policies in conditions that
enable certainty, durability and more long-term planning to secure their future. The lack
of involvement of in policy development resulting in critical errors and policy
implementation which do not match the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples is apparent across all measures of socio-economic wellbeing.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples need their own Voice to ensure that policy
and program development by government reflects their standpoint and ontologies. The
lack of understanding and blanket application of policy across communities has led to
the current position for a large majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
where they are over represented in measures of disadvantage and whilst we have had
ten yours to 'close the gap' the shortcomings of the policy has led to the current failings.