To Co-Design Body
Submission to Co-design process
I am a Catholic Sister of Mercy who grew up in Boandik country, southern South Australia. I have got to know Aboriginal people in the various places I have lived, especially Yankuntjatjara and Pitjanjatjara in Port Augusta, South Australia, and Wiradjuri in Forbes, New South Wales. I have been blessed with their sharing of culture, language, songs and prayers that have enriched me as a European-descent Australian. I have learned so much from them, but have also become more aware of the ongoing effects of colonisation and the inherent disadvantages of being born indigenous in these lands we call Australia.
It is time we listen to our First Nations people, and value their lengthy and united consideration of what is needed to improve the future for all who live in this land. The Uluru Statement from the Heart is such a document that deserves our attention and prayer. It is vital for indigenous people to have a say in matters that affect them, which is about giving basic respect and dignity, and also ensuring that outcomes can be best for everyone. I do not see any other way forward.
This Voice to Parliament is so important that I join First Nations people in calling for it to be enshrined in the Constitution, rather than only in legislation. This will ensure respect, empowerment and understanding lasts for generations and that we will all continue to be influenced by the great thousands-of-years-old cultures and traditions of custodianship. This Voice to Parliament process - for it will be a long but necessary journey - will improve lives, I am sure. Respect and voice lead to actions that will impact every part of this land, including those where I currently live.
Thank you for your consideration.