Dear Co-Design Body
I, also am an indigenous woman from another country. I have now lived in Australia longer than in my birth country of Fiji, having arrived here in 1988 as a fresh 21yr old. I spent some time in Sydney. In Melbourne I became a naturalised citizen, married and raised a family being part of a wonderful city and community in Victoria for 23yrs. Employed by the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group over the same period. In 2011 we moved to Alice Springs, Central Australia and for this latter part of my life I have found a special place in the heart of this nation where our eyes, hearts and minds have been open to both the beauty of the land and brutality of its people. As an individual I have gone on to experience the benefits of reinventing my career from banking to other opportunities that stretch my abilities, achieving academic goals and creating a path to achieve life dream yet I observe that for my indigenous brothers and sister the journey in comparison is complicated; their path has been narrow from the start, rammed with roadblocks of humiliation and suppression.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is now at a junction in our lifetime where we MUST choose it and take that direction as a nation so we can ALL thrive and flourish. The alternative is to sabotage our own wellbeing. We are now all interconnected; our life veins flow through to us and through us also. For our nation to continue to heal within itself, the layers the fractures and old wounds will shed and grow stronger into new sinews and skin and spaces that not only will strengthen our indigenous family but this momentum and energy can only move us ALL upward and forward.
It is important that we enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the constitution rather than include it in legislation as history has shown us that it has lacked depth and continuity. To have a deep significant impact we need a voice to parliament to show that we are genuine in accepting this invitation that our indigenous brothers and sisters have offered. That this time, to our words we are adding weight and this time the momentum will birth long lasting efforts and achievements that have only been a dream for them.
A voice to parliament will give hope in their lives of those in our community to be able to have the freedom to live and contribute knowing that what they offer is appreciated and matters and makes a difference. It will be a 'lifter of heads' knowing that there is respect in their words, thoughts and views and they can chart their lives strategically in ways that they understand and value.
It is important the Indigenous people have a voice in matters that affect them. To give them a voice and make room for that voice is an action that speaks beyond all the empty words and superficial gestures they have been previously afforded -to do this would be to show them that we hold their place in the highest reverence. Only then we can be relieved of the burdens we continue to carry of past injustices. Them having a say and a voice does not mean other voices are muted, offering this doesn't mean something or someone else will go without. Justice and humanity always add and never diminishes. Their voice will enrich us all, it's the symphony we have denied ourselves also.
In 2018 my grand-daughter (redacted) was born. Her father is a Eastern and Western Arrernte (Ltyentye Apurte/Ntaria) man. This is where my life intersected theirs. Where the connection is no longer just a group of people close by. This is what I meant when I said its life veins run to us and through us, this tie has called me to action. We are living in times where the bonds are are flowing deep thus the demand placed on us now are for those, we no longer just call friends and neighbours but who are now truly family - who look to us to stand with them. My grandson (redacted) was born 2 months ago. He will grow to be a proud indigenous man like his father. I pray that in their lifetime they will look back and know that a community and country cared enough to gift them a voice and the Uluru Statement.