(redacted), Highgate WA 6003
To whom it may concern
Co-design process: Submission
I am (redacted), a 70 year old ,3rd generation Australian woman of English, Irish, Scottish, Spanish and Argentinian extraction, i.e as far back as I know. I was born into Whadjuk country at Subiaco WA and grew up at the beach at Shoalwater Bay south of Perth. Since the age of 22 I have lived in Perth inner-city and suburbs and have travelled all over Australia apart from Arnhem Land. I still intend to get there! I am a retired Art Administrator/Curator, (2000-2019) and this work connected me with many Aboriginal communities and artists. I have worked also, earlier in my life, as a medical secretary, parenting educator and secondary school teacher. I have a Diploma of Teaching with a double major in Communications and English. I have four sons and two grandchildren.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a very significant document for me. The fact that Aboriginal communities from all over Australia were consulted and spoke, sent their delegates to the Uluru meeting and agreed there on what they wanted is a major achievement. A wonderful achievement. An opportunity for the Government to listen to what Aboriginal people want and to arrange to give them what they want. After all they only asked for things that should have been in put in place 250 years ago. VOICE, TREATY, TRUTH made so much sense to me. I don't want to die before this statement is acted on.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
A Voice to Parliament would be an important and overdue first step to giving Aboriginal people formal acknowledgement, recognition and the say on what happens to them and their communities. A direct Voice to Parliament, unmediated by government, would mean that the Parliament would get a clear message that would give them understanding of specific issues and situations from those on the ground, and directions from them on how best to act to address things. Aboriginal communities would feel less powerless. Knowing that this Voice is delivering directly to the Parliament gives the non-Aboriginal community the confidence and comfort that actions taken by the Parliament are what the Aboriginal people involved want. This is about justice and self-determination, and speaking for myself, my family and my community of friends this is what we want, without the usual interminable delays, for Aboriginal people.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
They are the people who are living their experience. They know what is most important to their culture, to their communities, to them as individuals. They are the ones who know how things affect them and what they need. What things will work best for them and their communities. What is necessary for their wellbeing.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Acknowledgement of Aboriginal people and their rights should have been written into the Constitution from the beginning. The Voice to Parliament should be enshrined within it now. The Constitution can only be changed by a Referendum. Legislation can be changed in the Parliament without putting the change to Referendum. Enshrining the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution would mean that this important right will be preserved in a form, at the highest level of Australian law, that ensures it will be protected and respected.
Read and re-read the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It says it all. And the wellbeing of Australia depends on our acceptance of it. We must not miss this opportunity. There are so many things in our history that need to be acknowledged and addressed but we should start with what Aboriginal people have told us is most important to them. I am only an onlooker but I trust the people and process that led to this statement which came from the hearts of the assembled delegates on behalf of their communities.