To whom it may concern
Submission to Co-design process
I have been a psychologist and systemic family therapist. I am a German citizen and permanent resident of Australia. I have worked in Germany and the US before I came to Australia 25 years ago to Iive with my Australian partner. In the last 10 years the focus of my work has been creating spaces for conversations in diverse community settings. I now no longer work in clinical practice.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
I heard Thomas Mayor speak about the Uluru Statement of the Heart in Alice Springs 2 years ago and learned about how it came into being . It is an enormous achievement to have arrived at this statement combining the many voices into one Voice. It expresses a forward thinking which does not only affect a positive future for Aboriginal Australians but also for Non-Aboriginal Australians. The way forward needs to be together. I wish the Uluru Statement from the Heart could be read by every Australian citizen and resident to be a starting point for conversations and a rich learning opportunity for Non-Aboriginal Australians. The Government must honour its election commitment to a referendum once a model for the Voice has been settled to ensure that a First Nations Voice to Parliament is protected by the Constitution;
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
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 figure. This body must have constitutional authority so as to be able to speak directly to Government.
Why do you think Australia needs a Voice to Parliament?
If Australia wants to keep the status quo (the disproportianate incarceration, suicide and chronic illness of the Aboriginal population) then Australia does not need a Voice to Parliament. If however Australia wants to create a better future for ALL Australians then Australia does need a Voice to Parliament. After a referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament an enabling legislation for the Voice must be passed.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
Indigenous Australians must be granted ways which assure they can create culturally appropriate education and health systems. Only then can the disproportionate suffering of Australian Indigenous citizens be addressed and reduced. Non-aboriginal Australians cannot live peacefully with their Aboriginal neighbours if they do not understand their culture and customs. The question for me is rather why SHOULDN'T Indigenous people have a say in matters that affect them. What thinking justifies that they do not have a say. It is time to move forward together.
We live in a time of multiple global crises. The aboriginal knowledge of being in right relation with the earth is the way forward in responding to this predicament. To have a voice in government could lead the country to make wise decisions for generations to come.