(redacted) Forest Lodge NSW 2037
To whom it may concern
Co-design process: Submission for Eloise Liddy
I am a non-Indigenous woman living and working on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation (Sydney). I work for an international medical/humanitarian aid organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres, in communications.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is so important because it comes from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, expertise, and a decade's work. It has been endorsed by Indigenous leaders across the country, and it has huge public support which is significant. It calls for constitutional change and structural reform which is the best way forward for us to recognise Indigenous sovereignty and empowerment, so we can all work together for a better future for our nation.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
Right now, Indigenous people in my community and communities around the country are being harmed and killed. The public wants Indigenous deaths in custody, child removals and family separation to end. And as fires and floods become harsher and more frequent, we also need to make more change to protect the land - which also means protecting human lives. These matters affect all of us, and we can strive for a country that respects all, keeps everyone safe and supports everyone to thrive. A Voice to Parliament would mean Indigenous people are empowered to input solutions to these issues.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
When it comes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lives and affairs, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know best. They have the solutions to the most pressing challenges facing our nation right now - including First Nations justice, climate justice, health and economic wellbeing. These are all interlinked, and they affect all of us - Indigenous and non-Indigenous. It is time we listen to what Indigenous people have been saying for decades, and take action to enable their voices to be heard. When they are ignored and sidelined, we waste the knowledge and expertise that they hold, and we deny Indigenous people the respect they deserve.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
The Voice should be enshrined in the Constitution so that we show how the national conscience is behind this Voice. It should also be safeguarded - if it is only included in legislation, then it could be changed by successive governments.
Nothing changes, if nothing changes. The change we need right now is a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution.