We are non-indigenous Australians, with a strong commitment to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
Since participating in a march on the opening of the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane we have attended many events, including annual Invasion Day marches and NAIDOC week celebrations amongst others in our home city of Brisbane. Our lives have been enriched by numerous interactions with First Nations people in work, study and leisure time. Observing and participating in cultural events, and learning about First Nation land management and social organisation, has provided us with a deeper understanding of what it is to be Australian.
At the same time we see great injustices visited upon our First Nations people, stemming from the original occupation of their land through colonisation. These injustices continue to cause shame for us, not only as individuals but as a nation, and diminishes our standing in the world.
We support a constitutional First Nations Voice to Parliament as a step towards establishing a treaty between First Nations people and other Australian people which must address this fundamental issue. We are hopeful that a constitutionally-enshrined voice may contribute to the long-overdue decolonisation of the Australian parliament and all our institutions, including those that provide education, health care, law enforcement and welfare.
The land is Aboriginal land. All people living on it can only be freed from the tyranny of colonisation by formal recognition of First Nation sovereignty, through the Makarrata process described in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The government must honour its pledge to hold a referendum that will guarantee constitutional protection for a First Nations Voice to Parliament.
Lachlan Hurse and Sue Monk
Yeronga, Qld 4104
30 April 2021