2122

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Submission Number
2122
Participant
Anonymous
Submission date
Main Submission File
Main Submission Automated Transcript

To Co-Design Body,

I am an archaeology student from the University of Queensland and am now doing my Masters in
Archaeology at the University of Oxford. As an archaeology student, I am well aware that despite its
attempts, Australia still has not adequately addressed nor made the best efforts to heal the wounds of
its past. For example, important Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sacred sites and relics are
regularly destroyed with disregard to their cultural and emotional significance, local indigenous
languages are not taught at school, the 26 January is a National Holiday of celebration that does
address the fact that it also marks the beginning of two hundred years of pain, violence, and loss for
its Indigenous inhabitants; many First Nations communities are still suffering and dealing with the
aftermath of intergenerational trauma due to the Stolen Generation; massacre sites are not properly
monumentalised and mourned; while Aboriginal life expectancy is the shortest, prison population the
highest, child incarceration rates shocking and more than 400 deaths in custody remain unaccounted
for. The Australian political system is one that does not overly care for or value its Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ cultural heritage; and many Australian archaeologists and those who
work in Cultural Heritage Management are often jaded from always fighting a system that does not
adequately protect its own heritage.

This is because in decision-making situations that directly affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Peoples, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Voices are the ones that frustratingly
are silenced and dismissed. The policy makers are not the end users. It is unfortunate that Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander People’s issues have been tossed around like a “political football”, and the
government often ‘does things to’ rather than with these communities. This is why I fully support the
Uluru Statement. It makes sense for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to have a Voice in
the laws of the Parliament, policies and Australian Government decisions that affect them. It makes
sense to devise a system where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities
can work in true partnership with government.

I write to support the three key positions of the National Voice. Firstly, I hold the government
accountable to honouring its election commitment to a referendum once a model for the Voice has
been settled. Secondly, I urge the Government to enable legislation for the Voice to be passed after a
referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament. Otherwise, all this work would have been
for nothing. Thirdly, I support a membership model for the National Voice that must ensure previously
unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have the same chance of being selected as
established leadership figures.

The Voice is a turning point for the relationship between the Australian government, the Australian
public, and First Nations People. The desire by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to have
a greater say in the laws of the Parliament, policies and Australian Government decisions that affect
them is a desire that I support as well. The Uluru Statement and Interim Voice report is balanced, well
researched and aims for longevity and inter-generational benefits, rather than short-term gains. The
open discussion and emphasis on dialogue, partnership, and collaboration is refreshing and rational.
The observations that there is no one-size fits all model addresses a key systemic flaw which often
causes repetition of the same mistakes and problems. Most importantly it is clear that it was written
with people at its heart. This is good governance. This is something I want to get behind. This is
something to be proud of.

Australia is blessed with abundant resources and natural beauty, but this lucky bounty was provided
by the millennia of careful land management of pre-existing Indigenous Australian civilisations and
culture. Enshrining a Voice into our constitution as described by the Uluru Statement is the only way
that we can grow into a mature nation, and learn to balance its past, present and future; and honour
its rich dual parentage and inheritance. I support the National Voice to collaborate, walk and decide
together.

Thank you,