To whom it may concern
Submission for Co-design process
I was born in Whadjuk Boodjar of English and Irish ancestors, and was grown in Nyungar Boodjar in the areas of Menang, Ballardong, and Wadandi countries. I have lived in London, UK, for many years returning home frequently to be with family. My area of work approaches decolonisation through strategic exhibitions of material and visual cultures. I included the Uluru Statement in a library exhibition in Manchester UK in 2020.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
I was in Sydney when the Uluru Statement was generously offered to the people of Australia, and was ashamed that it was rudely rejected by the government. This was yet another betrayal of First Nations people's who endlessly host others in their country. The Statement invites us all to work towards a future, together, as a nation that recognises its deep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island history as the very foundation for the future of all the people who live here from so many different origins.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
I imagine the entire community would benefit from the insight and deliberation on laws and policies that would come with the Voice(s) to Parliament. The current lack of diversity in Parliament is a limitation on governments' capacity to understand and listen to the experiences of people's lives. We need a Voice to Parliament to hold Govt to account - eg. why has nothing been done in 30 years to prevent systemic deaths in custody of Aboriginal people?
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
Usually in a democracy such as ours, people take it for granted that they have a say in matters that affect them through their elected MPs who should legislate for all, but Parliament has demonstrated that it is structurally incapable of governing for All of us. Indigenous people have been historically and continually disenfranchised by the patrician colonial government that has spoken over,the Voices of Traditional Owners since colonisation. Indigenous people have the best knowledge and understanding of how laws and policies pertain to First Nations lifeworlds, and are best placed to judge and direct on matters that affect them.
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 to Parliament must be enshrined to secure is into the future for all Australians. Once in the Constitution consecutive governments cannot undo it in a fit of political pique or expediency. Governments use Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples as political footballs, changing policies every 3 years that distrupt the continuity of life. Royal Commissions, inquiries, reports - MPs have failed to implement recommendations to improve life for First Nations people, and are not called to account by their non-indigenous voters. The Voice to Parliament in the Constitution signals that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are Foundational to the country as a whole
I support the constituional enshrinemnt of First Nations Voice to Parliament.