2462

Submissions: Your Feedback

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Submission Number
2462
Participant
Jenny Fisher
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

Dr Jenny Fisher

Wollongong NSW 2500

To Co-Design Body

Submission to Co-design process

My name is Dr Jenny Fisher. I am not an Indigenous person. I grew up on the traditional land
of the Wiyot and Yurok people of Northern California. Since 2012, I have lived on Dharawal
country, and I have been an Australian citizen since 2020. I am an environmental scientist at
the University of Wollongong, working to understand and ultimately help reduce the impact
that human activities have on our planet.

I am proud to now call Australia home, but I am also ashamed that I have made my home
here without permission from the original owners and caretakers of the land on which I live,
who have never ceded it. As an environmental scientist, I am in awe of the way the
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people cared for country for tens of thousands of years
in a wholly sustainable way. As an Australian, I am indebted to them for their role in
maintaining this beautiful land. The Uluru Statement from the Heart is so important, because
it re-empowers Aboriginal people and invites all of us to walk with them in this journey.

It is fundamentally important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in
the matters that affect their lives. They understand their communities, their people, their
needs and their strengths in ways that the rest of us cannot. As someone who grew up in the
United States, the idea that Indigenous people have a say in the matters that affect them is not
new to me. The U.S. Constitution recognizes American Indian and Alaska Native tribes as
sovereign governments, with the right to govern themselves. We have an opportunity for
Australia to follow this lead but in its own way.

Only by enshrining the First Nations to Parliament in the Constitution can we ensure the
Voice is protected now and into the future. Once a model for the Voice has been settled, I
expect the Government to honour its election commitment to a referendum, after which
enabling legislation must be passed in the next term of Parliament. Such a referendum will
allow Australians to take up the invitation from the Uluru Statement from the Heart to walk
with First Nations people “in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.”

The proposed First Nations Voice to Parliament would ensure previously unheard Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander people have the same chance of being selected as established
leadership figures. It would ensure that Indigenous Australians are represented by leaders
who are a part of and truly understand their communities.

Kind regards,
Dr Jenny Fisher