As an educator, who has for decades, taught History in secondary schools in Melbourne, I have learnt many important things; two of these clearly being that the recalling of our own history has been blind-sided and our indigenous population marginalised in frightening and damaging ways. Much of our history has either been hidden or callously denied. Still today, so many Australians do not know the truth of our history, nor even of our present. I, myself, am continuously learning.
It is more than time that we have a First Nations Voice enshrined in our Constitution. This allows for protection of the Voice from change by the whim of subsequent governments.
My 89 year old mother said to me recently, 'I don't understand. How can you have people living in a country for over 60,000 years and not have their voices recognised in the Constitution of the country. I don't get it.'
At 89, my mum's question rings as a poignant bell.
It is time for change; time for respect; time for recognition; time to right wrongs. Time for a Voice.
In seeking the Voice, I refer to these three main points and request they be clearly adhered to. In this way I am supporting what is being asked of us by First Nations Peoples.
1. The government must honour its election commitment to a referendum once the model for the Voice has been settled.
2. Enabling legislation for the Voice must be passed after a referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament
3. The membership model for the National Voice must ensure previously unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the same chance of being selected as established leadership figures.
I eagerly await the outcome. An outcome that will speak to the heart and soul of our beautiful country.