On Sorry Day the Uluru Statement from the Heart calls again for Voice, Treaty and Truth
In 2017 my Aunty Joann and I were elected to represent our communities at the Uluru Dialogue. This was a historic meeting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across Australia and a culmination of 13 regional dialogues, each who had elected 10 representatives to attend. This gathering created the Uluru Statement from the Heart calling for a Voice, Treaty and Truth.
Almost five years later in Far North Queensland we reconvened with many others, old and new faces to this campaign and reaffirmed our commitment to this cause with the Yarrabah affirmation.
The Uluru Statement is a roadmap to what many Indigenous people want for our future.
First, a Voice to Parliament so we can directly advise on matters that affect us; Treaties that acknowledge our long-standing connections to Country and the rights and responsibilities we have in relation to those connections; and Truth Telling of the entire history of this country – pre, post and during colonisation from both sides.
The Yarrabah affirmation reaffirms our commitment to the Statement and calls for a referendum in the next Parliamentary term. A referendum would ensure a Voice to Parliament is enshrined in the constitution, is permanent and cannot be easily changed with the cycles of government.
It would also place the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the document that outlines the powers of Australian governments.
An enshrined Voice is not only the best way to ensure the longevity of this reform it also gives it the respect of being in the same document as the most powerful government bodies – although it is important to note an enshrined Voice is not a third chamber of government nor does it have veto power, it gives Indigenous people a mechanism to advise directly on policies that affect us.
This commitment has been heard and understood by the incoming Federal Government. Last weekend’s election results signalled not only a change in government but a change in the nation’s relationship with its First Peoples.
So far, all indications have been positive, the first thing our new Prime Minister did in his acceptance speech on Saturday night was acknowledge and pay respects to Indigenous Australians. He followed this up with a firm commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and constitutional recognition, to be led by our new Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney.
Now in the wake of this new federal leadership the work begins to create a successful referendum.
Two potential dates have been proposed by the creators of the Uluru statement, January 27 2024 and May 27 2024, the latter being the 57th anniversary of the successful 1967 referendum on Indigenous referendum. The question asked was, ‘Do you approve the proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution entitled—“An Act to alter the Constitution so as to omit certain words relating to the people of the Aboriginal race in any State and so that Aboriginals are to be counted in reckoning the Population”?’
While next year may seem like a long way off it’s a short time to gain the support of the majority of people and the majority of the states.
The next seven-plus months will be dedicated to a campaign of education and understanding as we invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future. History is calling.
For more resources and information click here
KPMG Australia supports the Uluru Statement of the Heart. Read our press release here.