Balwyn, Victoria, 3103
To Co-Design Body
Submission to Co-design process
Dear Co-Design Body Submission to Co-design process I am a member of the Boroondara Reconciliation Network and formerly Convenor of the ANTaR Boroondara Reconciliation Group. I have also helped coordinate the Deepdene U3A Indigenous Studies program for the past eight years.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The proposals from the delegates at the Uluru Convention representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders across Australia in their Declaration from the Heart must be fully adopted. The disempowerment, discrimination and disadvantage suffered in the centuries since the First Australians were dispossessed of their lands can only be addressed if they have a Voice to Parliament. Once the form for the Voice to Parliament is established, I call on the Australian Government to hold a referendum to establish this Voice to ensure grassroots Aboriginal and Torres Strait and Islander peoples are heard.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
It is only right that Indigenous Australians have a say in the formation of all policies affecting their lives to prevent a continuation of the paternalistic and discriminatory Government laws and practices that have caused such injustice and suffering in the past. Without such a Voice, Indigenous Australians will continue to be marginalised and disadvantaged and our national wound cannot be healed.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
The truth-telling that will accompany this process will finally raise awareness in the wider Australian community of the massacres, the stolen generations, the exploitation and discrimination and loss of connection to country, language and culture that colonisation caused that has been the Indigenous experience. This has to be accepted and acknowledged for Australia to be a healed nation. Then we will be able embrace the richness of our Indigenous heritage and culture and benefit from the wisdom and connection to country that belongs to the oldest living culture in the world that we can all proudly share.
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 set into the Constitution, rather than legislated, to ensure that it can never be removed by a subsequent change of Government.
It is time. Surely it is only just and democratic that our First Nations peoples, who never ceded their sovereignty over their lands, can finally have a say in decisions that affect their lives. Once the form of the Voice is established, a referendum must be held.