Responding to Ian Pratt in an attempt to ‘get real about the Voice’. The proposal does not challenge the historical fact of conquest i.e. the appropriation both violent and otherwise of this land by the English some 200 odd years ago. The Voice originates from a national convention process representing numerous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations, culminating at Uluru in 2017 with the stated intention of addressing the issues of recognition, powerlessness, truth, justice and self-determination.
The Voice in fact is a synthesis of First Nations peoples working within colonial disciplines to articulate a democratic and lawful way forward. The Voice presents a truly extraordinary opportunity because it seeks not to ‘return to the Dreamtime but to walk forward together into a future that is profoundly Australian, that fully embraces Country, its kin and its history.
The Voice will open a practical and symbolic space in our constitution for First Nations people. Theirs will be a voice of influence to be heard both symbolically and practically in relation to their own people and in accordance with the Australian constitution, this is not dissimilar to the role of the monarch under our current constitution. In fact, the Uluru Statement from the Heart acknowledges the sovereignty of the Crown alongside or co-existing with Indigenous sovereignty.
We Australians face a very exciting historical choice. Are we ready to re-design our constitutional structure? Truthfully acknowledging the past, listening to the formal consensus from our First Nations people, granting them the opportunity for a Voice for self-determination and forging a nation together that is unique and utterly of this extraordinary country.
Contemporary Australia remains in its own illusion; living a fundamental incongruity between the constitutional law we uphold and our trespass on the property and ownership of the land of First Nations people.