2381

Submissions: Your Feedback

Submissions from people and organisations who have agreed to have their feedback published are provided below.

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Submission Number
2381
Participant
Anonymous
Submission date

I believe that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people deserve to have more of a say on the laws, policies and services that impact them, their communities and their lives. Not only do we have a responsibility to return - to some degree - the agency that was taken from our First Nations people during the colonization process and the centuries of overbearing governance that followed, but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are rich in knowledge that we should utilise rather than ignore. Our First Nations people view caring for this country as their obligation and their responsibility, and we deny them this right. Every day we are losing out on valuable knowledge that would greatly benefit our nation.

Furthermore, it's been more than twelve years since the Australian government released their 'Closing the Gap' strategy, and yet the progress report last year indicated that only two of the eight targets are on track to be met. That doesn't seem nearly good enough to me, particularly when you consider that these targets aren't ground breaking, but rather pretty fundamental goals. One statistic that I find particularly upsetting is that Indigenous young people are 26 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous youth. When you consider this in conjunction with the fact that just last year, Australia's Attorney-Generals met and decided against raising the age of criminalisation from just 10 years old, I think it's clear that we don't have enough of a voice in our parliament from our First Nations people to advise the government on critical issues that need change.

In supporting an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, I believe the following key aspects are important to its enactment:
1. I believe the government should honour its election commitment and hold a referendum once the model for the Voice has been established.
2. To ensure the Voice continues through changing parliaments, it should be enshrined in the Constitution. To this end, I believe that legislation for the Voice should not be passed until after a referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament.
3. The Voice should be as representative of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as possible. To do this, a National Voice as well as Local/Regional Voices should be established, and these Voices should be set up in continued collaboration with First Nations people to ensure that previously unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have equal chance of being selected as members of the Voice.

We would be lucky as a nation to have more input from our First Nations people on relevant policies and services. It is fair, it is necessary and it is overdue. Let's return some of the agency to our First Nations people that we've stolen, and create change for the better.