To whom it may concern
Co-design process: Submission
I am a 36 year old non-Indigenous woman, living in Perth in Western Australia on Noongar Boodja. I grew up in Mandurah, just south of Perth, and have travelled and lived in other parts of Australia. After finishing high school I studied Conservation Biology and Eco-tourism at Murdoch University, and am currently working as a horticulturist at Kings Park Botanic Gardens.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
I think the Uluru Statememt from the Heart is extremely important, in recognising and acknowledging that sovereignty was never ceded and that the First Nations people's ancient and sacred links to the land remain always. The voices of the First Nations people need to be heard, as they always should have been. After so much wrong-doing on the part of colonisers, we need to move forward with acknowledgment and reconciliation, and the Uluru Statement from the Heart would go a long way in achieving this and empowering First Nations people. It would be truly inclusive and would represent a much better Australian nation.
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 very important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, so that it is always there and not able to be changed with every change of government, as it could be if it was only included in legislation. There needs to be consistency, or it will not be effective. A First Nations Voice to Parliament is important and needs to be protected by the Constitution.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
A Voice to Parliament would improve the lives within all communities across Australia, with the potential to make changes for the better in many areas including education and health of the community. The membership model for the Voice to Parliament would include representation at local and regional levels and therefore allow decisions to be made to improve lives on a local, regional and a national scale.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
Of course it is important for Indigenous people to have a say in matters that affect them, this seems like it would be common sense but unfortunately has not been the case in the past. Decisions have been made on behalf of Indigenous people without their say. Indigenous people need a voice and must be able to have their say in matters that affect them, bringing their perspective, experience, insight and knowledge so that appropriate, effective decisions can be made that benefit the people that are affected.
So much determined hard work, by people with great strength and hope, has gone into developing the Uluru Statement from the Heart and it should not be dismissed. The First Nations Voice to Parliament must be enacted and protected by the Constitution. The government must honour its commitment to a referendum, and we can ensure all voices have a chance to be heard.