2268

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Submission Number
2268
Participant
Anonymous
Submission date

Dear Co-Design Body

Co-design process:

I am a 75 year old retired woman of English ancestry. My mother’s family arrived as convicts in the early years of British occupation of Australia. My father's family arrived as artisans some 70 years later. I have studied psychology and community development and worked for some years at Cherbourg Aboriginal Community in the 1980s.

Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
My working life and my daily living have made it very clear to me that the Australian identity has no solid roots. We grasp at symbols of who we are - an Australia Day that marks no real event; an ANZAC Day and a war history that speak to unbearable generosity and braveness but for no clear symbol of nationhood. We have for so long not been willing to face the actual foundation story of our current Australia. But the people who lived in this land and who come from and out of this land have - for the last 230 years - have been willing to share the meanings and ways of this land. The overwhelmingly generous offer of makarata and truth telling in the Uluru Statement gives a precious opportunity for us to finally get this relationship right.

How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
And because they know their own histories in ways we cannot - because they collectively know this land and it’s ways - we as a Nation are deeply impoverished if that Voice is not spoken and heard we are not whole. It is a matter of fundamental justice but so much more as well.

Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Attempts have been made in the past to give some measure of “Voice” to our First Nations peoples. And so we have a clear history that illustrates what a fragile promise that is. So we must enshrine both the position of our First Nations in our history and in our legislature within our Constitution to make it a real commitment and not another empty gesture.

Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
To date even our most well intentioned contributions to achieving a decent life for our First Nations people have fallen pathetically short. We cannot know the depth of loss and trauma experienced nor the effects of the cultural dislocation caused. So how can we know how to improve things? The people who have lived it and survived know what us needed. They know the likely impacts of future actions and decisions. So on this basis alone they must have primary control over programs directed to them. But more than this they know the land.

Kind regards