To whom it may concern
My name is and I live in Leichhardt in the inner west of Sydney, on
Gadigal country and have lived here for the last 22 years and in different parts of Sydney for
the past 50 years.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is for us a transformational document. Its formation
was a historic moment in the evolution of modern Australia, as Indigenous leaders came
together and called as one for an Indigenous voice in Parliament.
An Indigenous Voice to Parliament would ensure that matters of significance to the
Indigenous community were kept in the public eye. For instance, public scrutiny would
ensure that Indigenous deaths in custody were adequately investigated, and that measures
proposed 30 years ago by the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody were
implemented. The urgency of steps such as raising the age of criminal responsibility would
be brought to the attention of the public. Sacred sites and traditional lands would be
acknowledged, and their desecration prevented or at least publicised. The many gaps
between the situations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians would be brought into
the spotlight and closed; at present they are only widening.
I believe that it is essential for Indigenous people to play a role in determining their
situation, as this is central to empowered citizenship.
The Indigenous Voice to Parliament needs to be enshrined in the Constitution, rather than
merely being included in legislation, to ensure that successive governments do not
undermine its position or reduce it to a meaningless formality.
The Government needs to honour its election commitment to a referendum once a model
for the Voice to Parliament has been settled. Enabling legislation for the Voice must be
passed after a referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament; and the
membership model for the National Voice must ensure that previously unheard Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander people have the same chance of being selected as established
leadership figures. This is what the gathering of 1200 Indigenous elders from all over
Australia called for at Uluru in 2017, with one united voice. The cry of this pivotal gathering
must be heard and its demands met for Australia to move into the future with any
semblance of justice.
Leichhardt NSW 2040