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February 2, 2023

Locals call for referendum on Uluru Statement

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Megan Edwards campaigning for a referendum on a First Nations Voice. Photo supplied

A group calling itself Australians Say Yes to the Uluru Statement is calling on our political leaders to include a referendum at the next election for a constitutional change for a First Nations Voice.

Local members are holding events in Byron and Lismore LGAs as part of a nationwide week of action (see below for details).

The Uluru Statement was the result of a constitutional convention in May 2017 that brought together over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders at the foot of Uluru.

The statement called for constitutional recognition of a First Nations Voice (parliamentary advisory assembly) and the establishment of a Makarrata Commission (makarrata is a Yolngu word describing a process of conflict resolution, peacemaking and justice).

Lib and Lab won’t commit

So far, neither major party has indicated they are willing to back a referendum.

Australians Say Yes is calling for a commitment from them before next year’s federal election.

According to spokesperson Megan Edwards, ‘Labor say they will establish the First Nations Voice and Makarrata Commission through an act of parliament but Indigenous leaders say it needs to go to the Australian people and be established through constitutional change.’

Megan said Aboriginal elders are ‘concerned about what happened with ATSIC and don’t want to see a repeat of that’. (The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission was established in 1990 during the Hawke government and abolished in 2005 under John Howard.)

Megan added the referendum would ‘also redress the power imbalance that has happened through colonialism’.

Elliot meeting

The group will meet with federal Richmond MP Justine Elliot (Labor) on Friday November 16 and ask her to get behind call for referendum.

‘We’ll be calling on Justine to support the Uluru Statement by taking the proposal for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament to a referendum at the next election.

‘I’m one of millions of Australians who can no longer stand by while systemic and structural injustice towards First Nations People continues.

‘Anyone who has looked into the history of this nation knows in their heart what’s happened here is wrong and wants it to be addressed.’

Other activities

Megan said people can become a part of the campaign ‘by voting in our mock referendum, which has polling booths down at the Byron Environment Centre at Railway Park, or at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market on November 16 where we will have an information stall.

‘There will also be a a gathering of people coming together in Lismore on Sunday November 11 and reading the Statement

‘And there is market stall at Nimbin on Wednesday, November 7.’

Megan said people can also show their support by taking photos of themselves with the logo A First Nations Voice: Put It To The People and posting it on social media. They can get this logo and more information about how to get involved at 1VoiceUluru.org or Facebook at VoiceTreatyTruth.

For more information on local activities go to the Facebook page YestotheUluruStatement.

 


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2 COMMENTS

  1. This article is very confusing. The Australia Labor Party disagrees with Indigenous leaders.
    Fact: The ALP is White, the indigenous leaders are Black.
    For any success the first step is to agree with indigenous leaders.
    So according to the ALP it is white man’s way or the highway.
    The Indigenous leaders have concern, so just who are the owners of this Group?
    White people who disagree with Black people.
    Then as a final note they want Justine Elliot who is officially a member of the ALP and abides by the ALP rules and regulations, they want Justine Elliot to overthrow the official ALP decision?
    What is the political implications here and the political motivations when it does not follow any empathy for the Aborigines.

    • Hi Jimbo, I hear you’re feeling confused and I’m not surprised. We’re ill equipped or resourced to make sense of the complexity of this issue because we’ve been misinformed most of our lives.
      There are currently five Indigenous representatives in Federal Parliament and three of them are Labor Party representatives who have been there since 2016. Senator Patrick Dodson from WA, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy from the NT and House of Reps member Linda Burney MP. There is also an independent Senator Jacqui Lambie (IND) from Tasmania and Kenneth Wyatt MP is a Liberal member in the House of Reps who has been a WA member since 2010.
      If you follow this link you’ll see that those three Indigenous Labor party members are on the Joint Select Committee that is currently investigating Constitutional Recognition for ATSI, with Senator Pat Dodson as the Co-chair. Their findings are due out in late November.
      https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Constitutional_Recognition_2018/Committee_Membership
      Even though these representatives are Indigenous they have responsibilities to their electorate, so they cannot be a First Nations Voice in the way that the Uluru Statement intends.
      The group Australians Say Yes to the Uluru Statement are a group of non-Indigenous People who are walking with the Uluru Statement. We are backing Indigenous leaders who created the Uluru Statement and who are now asking that constitutional change happen for a First Nations Voice to Parliament. We are going to visit Justine Elliot because she is our local representative and that is our right in a democratic process. How can our leaders represent us if we don’t let them know what we value? That’s why it’s so important that we all join this Peoples Movement and Say Yes to a First Nations Voice. First Nations People are only three per cent of the population. Non-Indigenous people make up the other 97%. Political action for a Voice to Parliament for First Nations People is the biggest act of empathy any one of us can take. Love is a doing action. So let’s do some loving. If our political leaders fail us, then we need to stand up and lead them towards what’s right for this nation.

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