Mangerton, NSW, 2500 Australia
To Co-Design Body
Submission to Co-design process
Hello, My name is Joseph Stanford, I am 24 years old, I live in Wollongong, New South Wales and I work within finance and I study finance and economics at the University of Wollongong. I have only lived in the Wollongong area for a short time as I moved from off my family farm in the regional town of Orange four years ago to seek greater opportunities.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
I may only be relatively young but I have lived long enough on this earth to recognise the injustice that takes place within Australia and I have bearded witness to the inequalities that our first nations brothers and sisters have been subject to. In fact, it is the privilege that I live within that allows me to see the disparities between my own life and those of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent. From my economics background, I know that the average Australian will live more prosperously then an arguably any other population group on the planet. For white Australians we enjoy a top 10 life expectancy of 82 years, the 4th highest median income and the 8th highest educational attainment. Yet, for indigenous Australians they can expect to live 9 years less, earn 34% less and experience almost 4 years less of educational attainment. The inequality is so blindingly obvious, this is even before considering that one of the largest contributing factors to non-indigenous prosperity is due to the resource abundant land that we was stolen and used to fund our economic prosperity. The Uluru Statement from the heart is an invitation from first nations Australians to walk with them in a movement toward improving the future conditions for not only indigenous Australians but all Australians. The three pillars of "Voice, Treaty and Truth" are the most important tools towards laying a platform to implement effective changes within this country that will greatly enhance the lives of all Australians.
Why do you think Indigenous people should have a Voice to Parliament?
The voice will allow indigenous Australians to have a say in the issues and policies that affect their lives. This is a common practice around the world and it is used to better democratise a nation. This allows for greater participation from groups who are often not heard or listened to in regards to important issues that effect their life.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
However, it is crucial that the voice to parliament be constitutionally enshrined to ensure the longevity of its purpose and effectiveness. Previously, indigenous representative bodies have been abolished by government at will when the bodies existence did not align with the governments agendas. This effectively wipes out all progress set up by the representative bodies and greatly slows down the progress addressing the inequalities faced by first nation Australians. A referendum to achieve this goal would not only ensure the longevity of the body but it will unite Australians in a common cause, unifying the nation and improving the very fabric of Australian society.
Why do you think Australia needs a Voice to Parliament?
Australia drastically needs a voice to parliament as historically non-indigenous politicians have made decisions for indigenous communities that have led to ineffective outcomes for the communities involved. In the most advanced democracies around the world the most effective policy implementation and resolve have come when the parties who are affected by the policy are strongly involved in the decision-making process.
One of the most widely held ideologies in Australian culture is the idea of a "fair go for all". It is now time for Australia to put this belief into practice and walk with our first nations people to correct past wrongs, address the current issues they face and improve the future for all Australians.