Later this year, Australians will be given the opportunity to come together to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in our Constitution, through The Voice.
There is one vote for each person; no political or lobby group pressures should be involved. It is ONE vote per person. It’s up to you.
It’s been a long time coming.
From a ‘Day of Mourning’ way back in 1938, through to the 1963, Yirrkala Bark Petition, to 1966 Walk off at Wave Hill, then in 1967, a successful Constitutional Referendum, followed by 1979, Call for Treaty, to 1988, the Barunga Statement…and then 1992 Mabo, where things were looking positive; 1997, Bringing Them Home, leading to 2008, Apology to The Stolen Generations.
So many attempts to ask us to listen and ‘walk with’ First Nations people.
For generations, Indigenous Australians have sought recognition of their unique place in Australian history and society. They have been knocked over, knocked down and denied a voice too many times.
Finally, in 2017, along came the carefully worded and simple ‘The Uluru Statement from the Heart’, addressed to the Australian people, gently inviting the nation to create a better future via the proposal of key reforms.
(And on which Malcolm Turnbull unwisely placed the wrong slant - and binned.)
The 2023 Australian Indigenous Voice referendum will ask voters to approve an alteration to the Australian constitution, creating the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to represent Indigenous Australians to the parliament and federal government on matters of Indigenous affairs.
Simple as that!
(By the way, Australia is one of the very few liberal democracies in the world that doesn’t have any arrangement or settlement with its First peoples).
BUT this planned YES/NO question is turning into a mad political and social brouhaha.
Social media is bursting with weird false claims of what this referendum will mean to the people of Australia.
This morning I saw a statement that claimed we, non-Aboriginal citizens, will no longer be able to own any land. WHAT? Where did that idea come from?
Similarly, the woman who states, ‘I was born in Australia. I am Australian. I do not want to be welcomed into MY OWN country’ … is not being smart. She is simply showing wilful ignorance. And it’s not becoming – nor is it helpful.
Social media has exposed a few individuals, acting like 10-year-olds. You know those kids who like to show off; to look tough and special as they challenge rules.
‘Look at me!’ they say, ‘I’m powerful. I can break the rules of decency. I am not going to be told what to do!’ Then they say, ‘I’m going to vote No – just because I can.’
These attention seekers are not being clever or brave. Nor are they showing how powerful they are. They are simply ignorant.
Put simply: “A Voice to Parliament will give Indigenous communities a route to help inform policy and legal decisions that impact their lives.”
Every person (18 years and older) will be able to show that they care. It is not an order. It is a gentle and heartfelt request. You are not being compelled to write that simple word ‘YES’.
Ignore fabricated non-facts. Don’t listen to racists and don’t listen to manipulated suckers, some only intent on making squillions of dollars digging up Australia.
We have been invited “to walk together to build a better future by establishing a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution, and the establishment of a Makarrata* Commission for the purpose of treaty making and truth-telling”.
You and I will be given the chance to use our one vote, just the same as any other person. Our vote has no different worth from that of any well-known, outspoken, big-shot politician or your next-door neighbour.
One vote, one person. Use it wisely.
I will vote YES, in October. Will you?
*Makarrata is a Yolgnu word meaning 'a coming together after a struggle'. A Makarrata Commission would have two roles: supervising a process of agreement-making and overseeing a process of truth-telling.
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