To Co-Design Body
Co-design process: Submission for Anna Maxwell
My name is Anna, and I am a long-term Lane Cove resident who currently studies medicine at UNSW. I am a devout Catholic and work for the Uniting Church Tertiary ministry team.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
I am very keen to see constitutional recognition for Australia's First People. The way Indigenous people suffer in modern Australia brings shame on our entire country, and deservedly so. Without working harder to empower Indigenous peoples so their communities can build a better future, more young people like me will grow up feeling embarrassed by this aspect of our beautiful country. I am a white woman, and I know my ancestors contributed to the historic abuse of Indigenous people, and I want to be part of the solution, and want to support politicians who feel the same.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Legislation can be overturned relatively easily. Changing the constitution will protect Australia's First People and their voices much more strongly. Also, legislation mainly involves the Parliament, whereas a Referendum will engage the entire county. And the entire country needs to be engaged.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
The suffering of Indigenous people today brings down the quality of the lives of us all. Even in the midst of our joy, we can't help but think of those who have paid the price for our comfort. My family has become comfortable in this country over many generations because we came here and took what belonged to others. As a religious woman, I don't believe any injustice or evil can occur without a cost, and I think I and my children and children's children will keep paying this price unless we work towards making real change.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
Without a voice, you lose a sense of your own worth and personhood. As a woman, I have come to understand how womenkind become vulnerable when we are denied the ability to speak up. The same happens to Indigenous people when they are not given a say in matters that concern them. Just as men shouldn't speak for women but only speak up for their right to speak, so non-Indigenous people shouldn't speak for Indigenous people, only help create the space for them to speak for themselves.