Dear Co-Design Body
Submission to Co-design process
I am a non-Indigenous woman, who lives in rural Victoria near a tiny town between Geelong and Ballarat. I belong to Landcare and am involved in advocacy groups for the preservation of our natural environment. I grew up in country Victoria, near Harrow.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a beautiful, gracious gift from Indigenous People to the nation. It offers a way forward for Australia to embrace its history and recognise its First Nations people.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
The Voice to Parliament will give Indigenous people the opportunity to comment on policy and legislation from the outset. The model of a Local and Regional Voice as well as a National Voice will provide opportunities for input from local communities as well. Our communities will be enhanced by regional Indigenous people involved in a dialogue with the members of the National Voice, relaying information, leading discussions in the community about issues that affect First Nations people when they arise in the discussions in Parliament.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
This Voice must be enshrined in the constitution so that it is protected and not subject to the vagaries of future governments. Being enshrined in the constitution will also give it the status and authority in the broader community it deserves.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
It is important for us all to have a say in the matters that affect us. Indigenous people know first-hand what affects them, and they know best what solutions are required to remove barriers and provide opportunities. The Voice to Parliament will provide an avenue for Indigenous people to put their views, critique proposals and explain their point of view.
It is difficult to feel proud to be an Australian currently: while our First Nations people are being incarcerated at such unrepresentative rates; while so many die in custody; while we fail to implement the recommendations of Royal Commissions and Inquiries; and while we fail to Close the Gap year after year. It is imperative that we enshrine the Voice in the constitution, and that we right the terrible wrongs that have been and continue to be done.