John Lazarus, Byron Bay
The Uluru Statement is neither ‘a futile attempt concocted with government patronage’ nor ‘a meaningless wish list’ as some claimed on The Echo’s website.
It is the best recent proposal from an Aboriginal representative group whose members came from all areas of Australia to attend the 2017 Aboriginal National Constitutional Convention to move race relations on in this country.
The Uluru proposals are simply a call for a) Constitutional Reform to establish an Aboriginal body to sit alongside Federal Parliament to become the conduit to and from Federal Government on issues affecting Aboriginal people, and b) the creation of a Makarrata Commission to progress reconciliation of the situation where British people just came here and then claimed the whole continent as theirs.
The Statement proposes that the Makarrata Commission supervise a process of agreement making between governments and Aboriginal people (which may be a treaty), on the basis of historical truth telling that includes the Aboriginal experience of European occupation. We are the only European occupied country that hasn’t organised a treaty with the traditional owners. Australians of immigrant background have occupied and exploited the resources of this land, and that should have been passed down to this generation of Aboriginal people who owned it for 60,000 years previously.
Of course there are other options – an Aboriginal treaty directly with the British occupiers, or through the violent global traditional way of addressing contested land grievances. There is no peace without justice, but there can be justice without peace. I suggest everyone have a look at http://www.1voiceuluru.org and ulurustatement.org