To Co-Design Body
Submission to Co-design process
I am a white Australian from Broken Hill, Western NSW. I have spent quite a bit of time in Wilcannia and felt the impact of death of the Darling River on the identity and pride of the Aboriginal community, which is heartbreaking to say the least.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The Uluru Statement is a tremendous achievement - it is a strong and united voice calling for respect and the true identity of our country and its first people to be recognised and respected. As a white Australian, it fills me with joy and pride to hear the words of the statement read aloud - it feels like the important foundations of our modern identity as a nation. It gives meaning and truth to who we are, instead of denial and ignoring the first people.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
It's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution because it is foundational. This is not just about tweaking things around the edges - this is about who we are as a nation. And it should not be able to be reversed - it should be enshrined in our Constitution.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
In my own community in the Illawarra, NSW the Aboriginal community have achieved so much despite the odds - one success being to save the wetlands and burial grounds at Sandon Point - one of the most magical places - from development. They did this through a years-long protest and tent embassy. Imagine how much more could be achieved if their Voice was given actual authority, instead of having to fight at every turn for the most basic of rights and protection for our land and the preservation of the oldest living culture in the world?
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
Like it is for all of us, it is so important for Indigenous people to be empowered in their own lives and the creation of their own future. They have been denied a voice for too long in modern Australia, and it has been to the detriment of our nation as a whole. We have lost the connection to the rich culture and knowledge that many Aboriginal groups have kept alive, and we would be such a richer culture and nation if we could embrace and feel proud of that culture as the link to the land we live on.