Imagine you come from an ancient culture with an instinctive, abiding and spiritual connection to your land, animals and people. One that has passed down thousands of years’ worth of knowledge, keeping it alive through stories, dance, wisdom, and belonging.
Now try to imagine the horrors of being assaulted, killed, imprisoned, or stolen from your family simply because you are indigenous. The fear that if this hasn’t happened yet, it might tomorrow. Or watching the pain of a parent or grandparent struggling to raise a family while dealing with displacement, dehumanising policies, lack of access to health and educational support, all while your community’s cultural knowledge is denigrated and sidelined.
Imagine learning that your life is predicted to be 10 years shorter than your fellow countrymen, or you are 15 times more likely to be arrested, because of your cultural identity.
Can you really imagine this? Can you so easily walk in these shoes?
I know I can’t.
This is why we need the Voice. Because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people don’t have to imagine. They know. We are being asked to listen. To amend the constitution so that this voice cannot be sidelined or disbanded by the politics of the day. So we can all learn, offer support, work together, and help the nation move forward.
There is a lot of Orwellian double-speak around at the moment. It’s said that the Yes vote will divide us. But if you look beyond the incendiary headlines, the unsubstantiated fears being stoked, and the misrepresentation of commentary by Voice supporters, there is no evidence that this is true. As outlined in the Uluru statement from the Heart (which is clear, short, and easy to read), The Voice gives us all the opportunity to enshrine within the constitution an advisory body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives to government on issues concerning them, so that their experiences and insights can be fully taken into account in new laws and regulations. Other countries such as the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Norway already recognise indigenous people in their constitution. Internationally, we’re the ones who are lagging behind.
I’ve added my name to Writers for the Voice, along with over 600 well-known Australian authors. Please check out this informative website and all the statements of support, and most importantly please read the Uluru Statement of the Heart.
I offer my respect and support to all those who have been working tirelessly for years to give us this opportunity. I hope that we can hear and heed the call.