Dear Co-Design Body
I recently moved to Australia from the United Kingdom. I am a senior commercial lawyer with a leading Australian firm, and prior to practising law I studied history at the University of Cambridge.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
It is frankly shocking that in a developed nation in the 21st century, where a vast majority of the population have an exceptional quality of life with access to unparalleled opportunities, there is a large minority that lives in the shadows. It is particularly disgraceful that the large minority happen to be the original custodians of the land, with a uniquely longstanding connection to country. The Statement does not ask for much. It is important not only for the Indigenous people, but for all Australians to lay this foundation to enable to country to build into the future.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
It would improve every community, not just my own, by making Australia a more equitable place to live and a country in which we can be proud.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Legislation changes at the whims of individual governments; the Constitution has a more fixed status. It is also carries a symbolic status, which would place the Indigenous voice at the center of the national debate.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
Indigenous people face a unique set of circumstances. They are the custodians of tradition but live in a rapidly developing world in which they are marginalised, and they live in communities that are poorly served by modern infrastructure and civil society. Without a means to governance, those dichotomies will not change, as it is not in the interests of the governors to change them. Only the governed can truly understand the requirements of government.