2826

Submissions: Your Feedback

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Submission Number
2826
Participant
Anonymous
Submission date

Dear Co-Design Body,

I’m writing to express my strong support for the Australian government to accept, on behalf of all Australians, the invitation extended by the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

I am an Australian citizen, born in Melbourne and raised in country NSW. These places, which have shaped me and which I love, are also the lands of the Wurundjeri and Ngunnawal peoples. As it stands, the Australian nation faces a crisis of legitimacy, having been established without regard to the pre-existing sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This act of colonisation is not only an historical injustice. It underpins the oppression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to this day—through law, institutional practice and ongoing racism within the public sphere. For these reasons, it is deeply important to me that the Australian government take up the offer extended by the Uluru Statement to reconstitute the relationship between the Australian nation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart is an invitation to begin this process, with a Voice to Parliament being the first step.

It’s my belief that for the Voice to Parliament to succeed, it must be constitutionally enshrined. In Australia, there is a long history of Indigenous representative bodies being established, only to be abolished. Each time this happens, the knowledge and know-how created and held by members, and the communities they represent, is lost. Perhaps more importantly, if the government of the day has the power to defund or dismantle a Voice to Parliament, then its members’ ability to represent their peoples through frank and fearless advice to Parliament is weakened. For these reasons, the existence and core function of the Voice should be enshrined in the constitution. The design of this constitutional body can then be set out in enabling legislation, allowing the Voice to evolve over time.

Establishing a Voice to Parliament is also a step towards establishing a treaty, and beginning the truth-telling process that has been proposed by the Uluru Statement. Once in place, the Voice will be able to help shape these processes and ensure that their design is fit-for-purpose.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart invites all Australians to join Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in establishing a Voice to Parliament, followed by Truth and Treaty. As I understand it, these processes are about acknowledging and redressing injustice, and also about building a fairer and better connected democracy that we can all be proud of. This is an extraordinary opportunity that may not come around again in our lifetimes—I strongly support a Voice to Parliament, followed by Truth and Treaty, as proposed by the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Thank you