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March 26, 2023

The Voice

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A referendum for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution is the people of Australia having a conversation. A conversation about acknowledging and honouring the original inhabitants of this great land. 

For over 60,000 years the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders inhabited, cared for, and governed themselves with a rich tapestry of customs and laws. In the two hundred years since colonisation the Indigenous people of Australia have lost their sovereignty and been harshly ruled by an occupation that has applied traditions and laws which have disinherited and separated them from their families, Country, and practices. Australian people know that we need to address, speak honestly, and heal this damage. We are all looking for a way to honour the original custodians of this land.

In May 2017, over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates from ‘all points of the Southern Sky gathered in Mutitjulu in the shadow of Uluru and put their signatures on a historic statement. The Uluru Statement From The Heart addressed to the Australian people [and] invited the nation to create a better future via the proposal of key reforms.’

One of those requests was for Constitutional recognition through a Voice to Parliament. A body enshrined in the Constitution that would enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to provide advice to the parliament on policies and projects that impact their lives. That is it. An elected body to advise, consult, discuss and help make policies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, rather than for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This appears completely reasonable, long overdue and necessary. A constitutionally enshrined voice isn’t threatening, it isn’t complicated, it isn’t a reason for anyone to object. People are sadly using it as a vehicle to confuse, misinterpret, and distort. Even some Indigenous people are arguing it is divisive and will do nothing to improve the lives of First Nations people. 

Yes, truth telling is needed, and a treaty, but these are separate steps.

I have read the objections from the ‘No’ campaign and am seriously disappointed, dismayed and frustrated. People are using it as a platform to push other agendas and spread misinformation. 

The Voice is not about special rights for First peoples, it is a symbolic change that will include all of our First Nations in the foundation document of this country. Let’s do this people;, let’s honour the oldest surviving people and culture and say ‘Yes’.

Janet Walker, Goonengerry

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Well put Janet. Unfortunately the no supporters will continue to spread misinformation and lies and try to muddy the arguments for no apparent logical reason.

    • There seem to be three different camps of no supporters, each with their own logical reasoning. We don’t even like each others reasons, but we understand the logic of each. Hard of hearing? Try listening!

        • The Universe cares not for your feels. You can not change the rules governing the way creatures interact, you can only bend them for a while at great expense. Your inability to perceive objective reality does not negate its existence.

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