To whom it may concern
Submission for Co-design process
I am a non-Indigenous person who works as a Family Day Care Educator and a Parenting Instructor. I am currently half way through studying a Psychology Degree and am interested in pursuing a career in Cross Cultural Psychology with the aim of helping white Australia to overcome the systemic and cultural racism that is so negatively and extensively impacting the lives of First Nations People.
I have been walking with the Uluru Statement since seeing Thomas Mayor speak at the Woodford Festival in 2017. After seeing that speech I made a commitment to come back to my community in the Northern Rivers of NSW and support the Statement. I started a local support group and attended public forums to read out and educate my community about the Uluru Statement. I also set up a number of Facebook groups.
The Uluru Statement is important because research clearly shows that Indigenous people are suffering from disempowerment as well as institutional and systemic racism. The only way this disempowerment can be addressed and overcome in a meaningful way is through a Constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.
I find it an act of gross disrespect that a nationwide process was instigated to find out what First Nations People wanted, that people took the risk to yet again engage with another government process, to share their hopes about what they felt was needed to support their communities, and still the government doesn’t listen. Still the government attempts to diminish and devalue that very clear request.
It is so important for Indigenous people to have a say in matters that affect them because that is a basic human right, because it is the least that can be done to address the gross injustice that has happened and is still unresolved in this country and because that is how democracy works. Indigenous people are the traditional owners of this land, it is just common decency to give them the power to control their own lives on their own land.
I don't feel I have the right to speak on how a Voice to Parliament could improve the lives of First Nations People, that is up to them. But I can speak to how it could improve the lives of non-Indigenous people. The main way it could do that is is by providing a deep sense of relief that finally Australian political leaders and people have done something towards making amends for the colonial trauma and its legacy, in an attempt to reduce the suffering that was and is still being caused. This could reduce the level of cultural shame experienced by white Australians and create a greater sense of cross-cultural harmony.
I think its important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament because that's what First Nations People have called for. Also, it is what will 'enshrine' that Voice so that it can not be watered down and changed by successive governments. Enshrining a Voice by involving all Australians through a Referendum is a deeply important process for non-Indigenous people as well.
White Australians are stuck in a limbo of unresolved collective guilt for the unfairness of how this country was settled. They are looking for leadership and a national framework through which they can address this uncomfortable sense of cultural injustice. Every Australian needs to be actively involved in enshrining a First Nations Voice. This is a deeply important process for acculturating a new Australian identity.
To whom it may concern