I am writing to add my voice to the co-design process for the Uluru Statement. As a non-Indigenous Australian I feel constrained by the inactions of Parliament to commit to a Makarrata process in this land. This something that many of us as individuals endeavour to do, and I do as part of my work as an Academic Teacher in the University Sector, however, until this is implemented from the top down, until it is constitutionally enshrined, our efforts are bound and limited.
There are numerous models around the world for First Nations voices in Parliament and these are effective and safe mechanisms for ensuring the lived experiences, law and needs of First Nations people are protected and reliable represented. Once a constitutionally enshrined voice to the Parliament is achieved then momentum can be built on Closing the Gap once and for all.
This voice needs to be representative of the diversity of First Nations people, recognizing there is no such thing as universal aboriginal culture and that prior to colonization this was a land of hundreds of sovereign cultures. This voices needs to be independent of the Parliament and the Government and not a provider or services. Its purpose must be to speak to Parliament and Government on policy and legislation.
Enshrining a voice sets a precedent for other sectors in Australia- modeling how to include representative voices in policy making. It also protects a commitment to truth telling- reconciling our history and present so as to create an equitable future.
To support the success of this movement there needs to be a two stage process to establish the Voice, including an exposure draft bill to be given to the Australian Public to consider before the referendum is held, as well as a draft constitutional amendment for a new provision for a Voice to be put to the people for a vote and for this to be undertaken before the next term of Parliament.
Once achieved, we can then safely negotiate proper Treaty and continue the process towards First Nations people flourishing once again on the land that was never given up,
In sincerity and hope,