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’.
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.’
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.