2574

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Submission Number
2574
Participant
Caroline Lee
Submission date

Caroline Lee
(redacted) South Melbourne,3205

To whom it may concern

Submission to Co-design process

I grew up on the lands of the Woiwurrong, and now live and work on the lands of the Boonwurrong. I have strong ties to this country through my brief time here (one lifetime) and am grateful that the First Nations people have tended this land for so many thousands and thousands of years. I am an experienced professional performer and writer and have worked frequently with a number of theatre companies here in Melbourne: La Mama Theatre, Red Stitch Theatre, Finucane and Smith and Malthouse Theatre in particular.

Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
It is vitally important that Australia deal with our past. That there is true and deep and significant recognition of the oppression of the First Nations people in the founding of white Australia, and that this oppression has had profound and significant negative effects, which continue to this day. This racism, oppression, and systemic disadvantage must be properly addressed and must stop. The Uluru Statement from the Heart provides us a way forward as a nation. A way forward which has been thought through deeply and discussed by representatives of a large majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The recommendations of the Uluru Statement of the Heart should be adopted.

Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
For too long, I have seen proposed changes become political tools, and are therefore subject to the whims of changing governments. We have had so many Inquires and Royal Commissions, and yet change, if it happens at all, happens at a snail’s pace. The continuing appalling number of Aboriginal deaths in custody is just one example of this. If the Voice to Parliament is enshrined in the constitution then it is much more permanent and may actually have a chance to allow us to create real change for First Nations peoples and thus for our country as a whole.

How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
In my community there is a strong desire to recognize and accept and atone for the wrongs of the past. There is a deep sense of shame and guilt for past and present inequalities, and this is now an opportunity, a possibility to move into a different future, where the voices, desires, ideas, and lives of First Nations peoples are recognized, heard, respected and improved.

Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
For too long Indigenous peoples have had others speaking for them. It is crucial that now, when the indigenous community has collaborated and consulted widely, that their recommendations be adopted. That their voice is heard.

I support all the recommendations of the Uluru Statement of the Heart. I support the development of Local, Regional and National Indigenous Voices. I support the adoption of the Voice, in our Constitution.

Thank you,
Caroline Lee