2692

Submissions: Your Feedback

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Submission Number
2692
Participant
Peta Smith
Submission date

Peta Smith

To whom it may concern

Submission for Co-design process

I am a young first time Mum living in Cronulla with my husband and baby boy. I am white, of Irish heritage. I have just returned to Australia from 3 years living in London. I have a bachelor of Laws and I am halfway through my LLM. I work for an organisation called Capita, based in London.

Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
I suppose a better question is “why is it not important?”. Giving indigenous Australians a voice is long, long overdue in this country - let alone rectifying hundreds of years of neglect, racism and lack of opportunity. The Uluru Statement will not magically solve all of the issues this country and its people face in respect of its first people, but it is an important first step. Let’s get on with it.

How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
I live in a very white community with an extremely small percentage of Indigenous people. My community and myself would benefit from learning and understanding about Indigenous culture. Giving Indigenous people a voice in Parliament would teach my community about its history and it’s heritage. This would enrich our lives and hopefully increase the diversity here.

Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Changing the Constitution cements the Voice to Parliament permanently given the difficulty and complexity involved in amending the Constitution. Amending legislation is far easier so would make the Voice to Parliament less concrete and subject to change. It would also give the Voice to Parliament the prominence and significance it deserves.

Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
This is so hard to answer as a middle class, white privileged woman who has always had a say and a voice. I cannot imagine how hard life would be if I was never listened to or given any respect. I am grateful and thankful that my democratic rights can be exercised and respected. Indigenous people have never had this. It is important because we all matter, we all have our opinions and our needs and wants. But when we consistently tell one part of our society that theirs do not matter we create a disjointed society. We exclude our first people and we pretend to be inclusive. If we truly want an inclusive society, a culture to be proud of, and so everyone has the same opportunity - we need to give everyone a say.

LET’S GET THIS DONE ALREADY

Yours sincerely,
Peta Smith