To whom it may concern
Co-design process: Submission for Maddison Yerbury
I was born and have grown and learned in Dharawal country in the Illawarra. I am completing my Bachelor of Science (Honours), and outside of my degree have been involved in climate justice campaigns and organisations including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The Uluru Statement from the heart is important because it recognises the sovereignty of First Nations people in 'Australia', which means acknowledging the experience and knowledge of the oldest living cultures through constitutional recognition.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
Specifically, First Nations can represent and give voice to Country. Within the past two years this continent has experienced catastrophic fires, droughts, floods and other extreme weather events. Through land management including fire practices, Indigenous people can care for country and manage the environment to mitigate the impacts of climate change. First Nations input would have a beneficial impact on Australian society and encourage us to become inclusive, responsible and balanced.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Giving First Nations Australians constitutional recognition paves the way to put Indigenous knowledge at the forefront of national decision-making, policies and initiatives. It's disgraceful that 'Australia' is still yet to include First Nations people, their history, their knowledge and their resilience, in the running of the nation. This is long overdue.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
First Nations people deserve to be part of the decision-making that affects their people and other Australians and the lands upon which they have acted as custodians for tens of thousands of years. Not only would this provide First Nations people agency over issues that affect them, including the ongoing injustices caused by colonialism, but it also recognises the excellence of First Nations culture. First Nations culture has been sustained over tens of thousands of years and can provide knowledge, perspective, and wisdom to solve social, environmental, and political issues of today.