To whom it may concern
Submission to Co-design process
I was born in the UK but grew up in Perth and became an Australian citizen in the 1970s. I went to school in Perth and vet school at Murdoch Uni. I am currently living back in the UK but visit family in Western Australia regularly. I still work as a vet but recently studied creative writing here in the UK. Everything I write is set in Western Australia out of love for the place and my first novel will be published next year in Australia and the UK.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The world is changing. We need to listen more deeply to one another, particularly to those voices that speak from a different perspective to our own. The Uluru Statement captures the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for all.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
I believe peace is only possible through listening to everyone who wishes to contribute to the wellbeing of the community. And listening is only possible if everyone who wants to contribute is given a voice. I think a First Nations Voice to Parliament would give all Australians confidence in a peaceful and prosperous future for Australia and all Australians.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Enshrining the Voice in the constitution will ensure it has the necessary stability and certainty in its operation, free from the risk of abolition by a change of government, while allowing for flexibility. And only through a constitutional referendum will the Voice have the legitimacy and authority it needs to make sure the government and Parliament take its advice seriously.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
Only Indigenous people can truly understand their needs and experiences in relation to matters that affect them. It is no longer helpful or respectful not to allow Indigenous people to have a say. This needs to be acknowledged so we can move towards a true peace and reconciliation that includes all perspectives.
I truly believe that a happy and prosperous future for Australia depends on deep listening and cooperation between all Australians, and that we need the Voice in order to hope to achieve this.