WomanGoingPlaces wholeheartedly endorses a ‘Yes’ vote in favour of the enshrinement of a Voice for First Peoples in the Australian Constitution.
We cannot forget, erase or provide meaningful restitution for the injustices committed against the Indigenous peoples of Australia over the last 235 years. But by voting ‘Yes’, we will finally be empowering Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to change the present and improve the future for First Peoples.
As Noel Pearson, one of the key creators of the Uluru Statement from the Heart stated, the point of the referendum is first and foremost to provide Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the First Peoples of Australia. This has never happened before. Without recognition, there can be no real reconciliation.
And “ without recognition, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and identities are under an existential threat,” he writes.
The fundamental first step in this process of recognition requires a constitutional amendment to establish a Voice for Indigenous Australians to have a say in their own affairs. In the referendum, Australians are simply being asked if we agree to this or not.
The politicians who are undermining the ‘Yes’ vote today are the same politicians who bear a great measure of responsibility for the total failure to close the gap over previous decades.
As Mr Pearson writes, “ Until we have a constitutional voice, the cycle of misery caused by top-down and tone-deaf policymaking will not end. This is about creating a partnership, and embedding that principle in the Constitution, which will be permanent and authoritative.”
Growing up in Australia, I can say that it was not only the leadership that showed a total lack of perception of Indigenous Australians. We did not hear the Indigenous voice. Not in the media, not in public forums and certainly not in the education system. There were no references to Indigenous people, their culture, communities or history in any of my textbooks. Not at school or at university. I received a thorough education in the history of Great Britain and can still recite the names of the kings and queens of England. But not a word was taught about 60,000 years of Aboriginal history.
It is time for Australia to enshrine the Voice of First Peoples in the Constitution.
A ‘Yes’ vote is right, it is just and it is irrefutable.
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