2461

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Submission Number
2461
Participant
Bethany Holt
Submission date

I am Bethany Holt, a non-Indigenous Australian and live and work proudly and gratefully the lands of the Jaggera, Gadigal, and Quandamooka peoples.

I want to embrace the generous offer to non-Indigenous Australia made in the Uluru Statement from the Heart to walk together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a movement of the Australian people for a better future. I believe that an Indigenous Voice to Parliament is an essential first step in achieving Voice, Treaty, Truth, and giving expression to the ancient and unbroken sovereignty that has existed in Australia for over 60,000 years. It is crucial if we are to make amends and heal some the damage that has been done to the First Nations people of the country I call home.

I therefore support the positions of From the Heart and the Uluru Dialogue in calling for the following:
1. That the government honour its election commitment to a referendum once the model for the Voice is decided;
2. That the enabling legislation for the Voice be passed after a referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament;
3. That the membership model for the Voice ensures that previously unheard First Nations people have equal opportunity as established figures.

To government, this may be a bureaucratic matter, and if it continues to follow the path it has been on then the Voice runs the risk of getting even further bogged down in the complexities of constitutional law and consultation. But it cannot wait any longer. To First Nations Australians, the Voice is a matter of recognition, healing and self-determination, urgently needed if we are to make any substantial and sustainable progress in health, education, justice or social inclusion.

This is not a radical ask. Ensuring that First Nations voices can be heard in decision-making related to their peoples does not mean other voices are silenced. Listening to their point of view (and I note, that is all that the Voice actually obliges of Parliament) does no mean that our Democracy will be undermined. By making things right and better for our First Nations people, we are building a better country for all Australians.