To Co-Design Body
Co-design process: Submission for Michelle Higelin
I am the Executive Director of ActionAid Australia, which is part of a global federation working to advance women's rights and end poverty and injustice in over 45 countries around the world. I live on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is important as it recognises that sovereignty was never ceded and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the owners of this land upon which we live. It highlights the injustice faced by First Nations people in this country and the reforms that are critical for them to take the rightful place in their own country - voice, truth and treaty!
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
A Voice to Parliament is about recognising Australia's First Nations people and their constitutional right to have a voice in this country's decision making process. This would improve the lives of all of us by beginning to redress the historical injustice of being on stolen land and be a step towards a true partnership between First Nations people and the many migrants to this land. First Nations people have been custodians of the land for centuries, and with their guidance and wisdom, we can continue to protect our environment and its people for centuries to come.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
First Nations people should have self determination over all decisions affecting their lives as they know best what is needed to redress the historical injustices perpetrated by colonisers, and should be driving the future they want for themselves and this country.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
The Constitution is the core document that expresses who we are as a nation and what we value. This is a chance for us to right some of the wrongs of the past by ensuring First Nations voice is enshrined in our Constitution and can never be taken away or amended. It is a chance for us as a country to make a strong statement that recognises the first people of this country and their right to have a voice to parliament.
This is an important initiative that we all must support for our future and taking a step towards healing the wrongs of the past. A First Nations Voice to Parliament will help us to move forward in a positive direction and begin to build a greater sense of pride as a nation rather than a deep shame over past wrongs.