Tamborine Q 4270
To Co-Design Body
Co-design process: Submission for Fran Moser
My story comes from long lines of strong, resilient, and hard-working men and women, of
Polish and Swiss heritage on my mother’s side and English, Scottish and Irish heritage on my
father’s. I was born in Tasmania and grew up most of my life on the Gold Coast. I now live in
the beautiful area of Tamborine, at the base of the mountain on Wangerriburra Country with
my husband and two children.
I have always been drawn to the questions, where have I come from? And where do my roots
lie? About 2 and half years ago, whilst outside amongst the big grey gum trees at our home, a
series of songs came up through me, wanting to me told with such urgency. It wasn’t long
before I knew, a story was emerging. The melodies of my ancestral lineage of my father.
During the process of writing these song stories, there was a point where something was
missing, something big. It was a sense of deep grief, but I couldn’t articulate it. Until, I got a
phone call from my husband who was working interstate. At the time he was reading the book
Castaway, by Australian author Robert Macklin, and I remember so clearly, the sadness in his
voice when he had to ring me and share the horrific truths of our untold dark history- the
Frontier Wars, the brutality, the trickery, the robbery, the rape, the kidnapping, the murder
experienced by our First Nations people. They were poisoned, tortured, enslaved and driven
off cliffs. I had never been told the real truth. The details. The facts. I was grief stricken and I
was angry. I still am.
So my story, HERE ,in Australia began in 1859, when my great-great-great parents arrived from
Fife, Scotland in search of a New Great Promise, the promise of a better life to raise a family,
the promise of Ballarat gold. The promise was short-lived, and the goldrush concluded.
Opportunity for my family took a new form; the Regional Land grab. Around 1868, Andrew and
Martha, with now five young children in toe, moved from Joyces Creek, south of Ballarat and
settled in the area of Boho, outside of Violet Town.
However, this new opportunity for my family, this new life, was built on a largely unspoken
part of our history, the slaughter of the Aboriginal people. Between 1838 -1842, the Aboriginal
people of this area, Taungurung Country, were chased and killed from their lands shattering
their long history, their deep spiritual union with their land, their traditions, customs and their
homes. Twenty years later, this would be the land where my family, moved in, to lay their roots.
On stolen Land.
The recording of our family songs and the formation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart,
seems timely. I must have felt it’s birthing back in 2017. The truth seeking and telling that has
and continues to happen within my family and local community, of the untold criminal acts
against our First Nations people, is proving to be a process that is of extreme importance, and
part of a collective acknowledgment and healing.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart, I believe will be one of the most important pieces of
political writing in Australia, that I will see produced in my lifetime. I fully support what has
been asked of all Australians in this document. It has been asked with love and respect and I
accept the invitation to find the heart of our Nation – together. In line with and in complete
support of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, my key points are:
I want all people who live on this beautiful continent, we call Australia, to acknowledge that
First Nations people were the first sovereign nations, with over 65,000 years of living on and
connection to this Land. This sovereignty was never surrendered, meaning that it co-exists with
the sovereignty of the Crown. This needs to be nationally acknowledged.
Australia is the only Commonwealth country without a treaty with its Indigenous peoples. We
need this treaty process to think through what healing and reparation means.
The Statement asks for truth telling. I want the full extent of the past injustices experienced
by Aboriginal people to be told. To fully name the brutal history that this country was built on
– the Frontier Wars that is written down in history books but not spoken of. The truth that the
Crown and its Government counterparts’ mission was to nullify Aboriginal culture, to terminate
their long history, their deep spiritual union with their lands.
Our country is littered with statues, monuments, plaques and public spaces honouring
‘famous’ pioneering families and figures involved in extreme acts of violence and murder
against Aboriginal communities. There is only one side being told and this is unacceptable.
I want my children to know the truth. My children are taught at school, about the First Fleet,
the harsh lives of convicts and white settlers, and so, they should be taught the true events of
the brutality of the Frontiers Wars and treatment of First Nations people. Both sides of the
story. They deserve the truth. It’s part of their history too.
I support the idea of establishing an elected Voice to Parliament with constitutional backing.
This governance arrangement at a Federal level would enable expert input and participation
from Indigenous people on all policy areas that affect them. They know best how to repair and
heal their own communities and work through the challenges facing their people, which were
all born out of the actions and effects caused by colonisation. We as a nation are failing to
protect our Indigenous communities, it seems the struggles are not improving and instances
like the incarceration rate of Indigenous young people is growing. For far too long, decisions
have been made without First Nation people input. Australia owes them a protected
representation and voice to Parliament.
A Voice to Parliament would improve the lives of both Indigenous and non- Indigenous
Australians. For obvious reasons for First Nations people, as mentioned above, but for the rest
of us, I believe there is so much rich knowledge and experience that we have not even begun
to truly connect with from our Indigenous people. I don’t think we can begin this until the
healing truly starts.
Everyone has so much to gain when our Indigenous people are strongly connected with their
culture. Until then we are living in a constant state of dissonance and constantly making
excuses and forming beliefs to why we don’t need to listen – this only fuels racism and divide,
which creates no opportunity for growth, or ‘a coming together after a struggle’, as the
Makarrata Commission states within the Statement.
This Voice to Parliament needs to be enshrined in the Constitution, not just included in
legislation so that their Voice is protected and cannot be withdrawn with a change of
government. Too many Indigenous representative councils, commissions in the past have been
removed and abandoned by change of governments. This can longer happen. A First Nation’s
Voice needs to be protected.
Earlier in my submission I shared that I was grief stricken and angry. But my heart is hopeful,
that there will be change and the First Nation’s people will finally receive what they have been
asking for,for such a long time. I acknowledge their endurance, resilience and their fight.
I wholeheartedly request that Indigenous recognition is incorporated into the Australian
Constitution which will then align with other Commonwealth countries. I support the Uluru
Statement from the Heart and agree to what is been asked by our First Nations people. To
formally acknowledge our shared Black and White history and put in place the necessary
structures to facilitate us all to understand, heal and flourish together as a nation.
Thank you for the opportunity share my voice