2491

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Submission Number
2491
Participant
Professor Justin Yerbury
Submission date

Professor Justin Yerbury
Farmborough Heights NSW, Australia

As a Wollongong born and bred person, I have always had strong connections to the Dharawal land. I spent much of my childhood in the rural area of Young, NSW, where I had friends and family of indigenous heritage. I am now a Professor of Neurodegenerative diseases at IHMRI at The University of Wollongong, and despite my own illness, I fight to make people's lives better. The fight for constitutional recognition is also worth making, on behalf of a people who need empowerment.

The Uluru Statement from the heart is important because it recognises the First Nations Peoples of Australia and enshrines their VOICE in the parliamentary process. I have been appalled to discover more of how our First Nations peoples have been treated during colonialism and we need to recognise this and to acknowledge the damage we have done.

Many indigenous Australians and disenfranchised and disempowered. Having the recognition in the constitution will be the first step in proving them the platform upon which to start to heal and to maintain their culture.

Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
The value that constitutional recognition would provide would also recognise the knowledge and wisdom that indigenous Australians hold and could share with us all.

Everyone has a right to be involved in matters concerning them. For too long indigenous Australians have not been afforded this right. They have been "managed", "re-homed", "re-educated" and essentially "de-cultured". The only way that this culture will survive is to give them a say in matters affecting them and their land.

Yours sincerely,
Professor Justin Yerbury