2607

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Submission Number
2607
Participant
Ailsa Piper
Submission date
Main Submission File
Main Submission Automated Transcript

Ailsa Piper
Watsons Bay. 2030

To whom it may concern,

I am not indigenous but I grew up on Yamatji country in WA, and now live on
Gadigal land in NSW. I'm the fifth generation of my family to live in Australia, but
my ancestors hail from England, Scotland and Ireland. I've worked as an actor, a
director, a writer, a teacher and a broadcaster.

Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
From the moment I first heard the statement read aloud, I knew that it was vital. I
feel keenly that there are major issues that will never be resolved on this land
without a powerful Indigenous voice to Parliament from Indigenous people.
Obviously we need that voice for pressing issues like deaths in custody, but we
urgently need it for climate policies, for education, for justice and new ways of
applying it, for understanding of who we are and who we might be...We are still
enacting that original violence that happened at settlement in so many ways. Our
treatment of women, abuse of children, our drinking culture...we are all
responsible for changing these scourges, and an indigenous voice to parliament
will be a major step toward changing some of those toxic patterns that show up in
every area of Australian life.

Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect
them?
This question doesn't even deserve an answer. It doesn't deserve to exist. Why is
it important for us to have representation of any kind? It is self-explanatory, and I
find it offensive that Indigenous and non-Indigenous people should even have to
think about explaining this to anyone. If we asked "Why is it important for citizens
to have a say in the matters that affect them?" we would all laugh. The
parliamentary represents its citizens. Indigenous people are citizens. End of
story.

How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
I am aware that every time I cross paths with an Indigenous teacher or friend, my
world is expanded. I can only hope that a Voice to Parliament could be a healing
force within the walls of a place that has become toxic and disrespected. If
Parliament and its culture and thinking can be improved and made more dignified
and decent, then my community and my experience will be too.

Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the
Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
A Constitution declares who we are as a nation and a people. It is vital that
Indigenous people and voices be represented in it - for our citizens, but also to
show the world that finally we are maturing as a nation.

Yours sincerely,
Ailsa Piper