Happy NAIDOC Week!

Happy NAIDOC Week!

I come to you from the lands of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples and I pay my respects to their Elders past and present and emerging leaders of the future.  I also pay my respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who might be reading this e-bulletin.

As adult, voting citizens we will be asked, before the year is out, to Vote ‘yes’ or to vote ‘no’ to alter the Australian Constitution to “recognise First People of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”.  This historic legislation was finally passed on 19 June and sets in motion the referendum process.

If you missed it, the Hon Linda Burney, Minister for Indigenous Australians, addressed the National Press Club on Wednesday this week strong in her commitment, and that of her party, to seeing the Constitutional recognition of an Aboriginal Voice is a success.

Yesterday, I was involved in an ACOSS CEO online forum with the amazing Professor Megan Davis as special guest.  Megan is a Cobble Cobble woman of the Barunggam Nation and a renowned constitutional lawyer and public law expert focusing on advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  She is a key advocate in the Voice conversation and was instrumental in building the vision for and bringing to life the Uluru Statement of the Heart.  There is so much that Megan says that makes you sit up and listen but there was an especially pertinent point she stressed during the conversation – when you strip away all the politics around the Voice to Parliament debate – it is at the heart of it asking whether ‘you’ think that first nations people should have a say in the decisions made that impact on them.  She also reminded us that underpinning the Referendum is the Uluru Statement of the Heart.  It is great to be reminded of the strength and richness of that Statement.  I know that I have shared it before in this forum but given it is NAIDOC week – I do so again and strongly encourage you to read it and hear the bold messages of reconciliation and engagement in that statement.

Even four years after it was published the Uluru Statement won the Sydney Peace prize (in 2021) with judges describing the Statement as “the powerful and historic offering of peace’ which ‘offers a clear agenda for healing in Australia’.

Read the full eBulletin