To whom it may concern
Submission for Co-design process
My name is Rainee Skinner, born into a Caucasian family . I grew up in Nambour, Queensland, which I have since learnt is Gubi Gubi, Cubi Cubi country. I completed my BA at the University of Queensland and a Dip TESOL at UNSW. I have a Diploma of Creative Writing from USC. I have worked as an actress and a teacher of Communication for various tertiary institutions. I have also taught English to both migrants and TESOL students for at least 25 years . I have lived on the Sunshine Coast, in Brisbane and in Sydney. I am now retired and live in Maroochydore.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
As a non-indigenous person, I have become increasingly concerned about the on-going plight of indigenous Australians. I have long hoped that 'bridging the gap' would become a reality. Recent reports show that there is little evidence of this. However, I am admiring of the deliberative and consultative process that preceded the formulation of the Uluru statement. This collaboration and agreement-making has led to The statement from the Heart. I believe the notions of Voice, Treaty and Truth will lead to a better Australia, one that I will personally feel proud to live in. the First Nation's People have spoken and my hope is that we, as a people, through the instrument of government, will listen.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
The specific issues and problems that affect our First Nation's people need specific solutions. As a result of their mostly sad and ghastly lived experiences they can recognise and implement more efficiently and practically the solutions to lift them up and help them to move forward. From a purely pragmatic point of view, this makes economic and quantifiable sense. But from a position of humanity, the rewards are bountiful. We as a nation will have the opportunity to redress the travesties of the past as we acknowledge and empower the people to whom we owe an enormous debt; the 60,000 year plus, stewardship of this great land.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
It is critical that First Nation's voice should not be separated from constitutional recognition. I firmly support constitutional enshrinement of First Nation's Voice. In the next term of parliament legislation legislation for the Voice must be passed. Of course this would follow the passing of the referendum; hopefully during the next sitting of the national parliament. Surely previously unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait and Islander people must have the same chance of being heard and the same chance to become leaders and role models. We need to enshrine such a voice to enable on-going consultation and, recognition and a more beautiful life for all of us. Such a move would ensure our national interest and integrity.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
There is much to be said about the unintended consequences of finally telling the truth. As a child my knowledge of Australian history was limited to the conquest of Australia by the Europeans. The implications and lasting impacts of truth-telling, even if the truth is ghastly, will lead to a mature and magnanimous Australia. Such magnanimousness will impact Australia on so many levels:economically, culturally, socially and existentially . Finally, we may be brave enough to have the conversations, redress the balance in a positive manner and hopefully incorporate all that our First Nation's people have to offer and enhance the life of all Australians. Such a dialogue will be mutually beneficial.
The notion of Makkarrata is a powerful one. If we as a nation were able to embrace such a monumental concept, then I, as an a mostly proud Australia, feel confident that we have a future that is more generous and kind and sure. There is no doubt that this will take a lot of listening and some concessions, but I am sure that the benefits will serve us all well. We are one and we are many and from all the lands on earth we come. But it is to this land that we came and we owe the First Nation's people a debt of gratitude. Let us sit down and listen with open hearts.
With an open heart, I wish us all a kind and sucessful Makarrata