To whom it may concern
Submission to Co-design process
My name is Troy Byrnes. I was born in Brisbane on Jagera Land, my family then moved to the Northern Beaches of Sydney where I spent most of my youth growing up. I now live on the Central Coast of NSW on Darkinjung Country. I'm currently studying a Masters of Social Work at Western Sydney University, which I started this year. My family lineage extends back to the late 1700's where the first of us arrived as convicts by boat, we have lived on the land we call “Australia” since invasion. Because of this I feel a stronger need to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination and autonomy through the Uluru Statement of Support and a constitutionally protected Voice to Parliament.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The Uluru Statement of the Heart is important because since invasion Indigenous people have experienced successive governments working against, working above and working for Indigenous people. Rarely have then been granted the self-determination, autonomy, they need to have their voice heard in a country that has often rendered them powerless. They need a political role in influencing policy and legislation that directly effects them and an active and participatory role in the democratic life of the state which has been denied to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities since invasion. We need to work with and not for, to empower, not render powerless. The Uluru Statement of the Heart presents a roadmap for that to be accomplished.
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 rather than legislation because this is the only way it will protected for generations to come. And the symbolic significance of enshrining the voice in our constitution will have an impact also.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
When the lives of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised in our broader community are improved, then the lives of all of us are improved. A voice to parliament will provide the opportunity for better relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people throughout Australia.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
It's important that Indigenous people have a say on what matters affect them because as we've seen with 230 years plus of ongoing and sustained colonisation, everything White Australia has imposed on Indigenous people has only made things worse, has dispossessed them further and created decades of inter-generational trauma. Indigenous people have their own ways of doing and being, the government has continually attempted to suppress and destroy that autonomy. We need to grant that autonomy and self-determination back, only then can healing begin.