Kulcha by Lorraine Brown and Narelle Thomas

National Reconciliation Week 2023

UOW will remain dedicated in our approach to provide resources, learning opportunities and information sessions to support a First Nations Voice to Parliament. During National Reconciliation Week (NRW), UOW hosted a series of events dedicated to providing information around the upcoming Referendum and Voice to Parliament.

2023 National Reconciliation Week at UOW - Session 1

In this session, we discuss why non-Indigenous Australian’s should not fear an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament. You will hear from non-Indigenous UOW academics around the Voice to Parliament, how it will affect constitutional law, the economy and United Nation's Sustainable Development goals. Our academic’s will address some of the myths that have been circulating during this campaign.

I've got a story to tell you. It's a good one. It's about how these people, the first people got a voice.

60,000 years they've been speaking. At 363 languages,

but no voice, no say in matters which affected them. It wasn't right.

So me and your granddad, they and your mum. The whole nation did something about it.

People call their friends and families. People talk about it on the streets. Talk about it at work on the field.

Everybody made a song and dance about it. Everyone worked side by side.

And that's how we changed this country for the better. How we made history.

It's the story true. It could be.

Thank you everyone for coming today. We're really lucky to be having this event today on Aboriginal land,

and I want to acknowledge the traditional owners of Wollongong and also I was a student here, so I had the privilege of studying

on this magnificent campus, but also down in Nowra as well. So UOW has campuses across the state.

So acknowledging all mob and traditional owners that the campuses reach out to and the whole Illawarra are Aboriginal community.

It always was and always will be Aboriginal land.

I'm really excited for today's panel. We have some esteemed panelists, some which used to be my lecturers,

which is fun that I get to ask some questions this year. This time around I've been waiting for this moment

now that seriously, it's great to have you all here. This year, all Australians, we asked a very important question,

so it's really important we open up these dialogs and it'll be a change to the Constitution and everyone be asked

whether First Nations people should be recognized as First Peoples Through a voice to Parliament.

And that's what we hope to unpack today. So thank you for those here that are joining in person.

And also we have people joining online as well

and so yes, we do have a slido that will pop up on the screen both virtually and now it's up on the screen there.

So if you do have any questions that pop up during the talk, please put it

through there and we'll get to them at the end so this session will be sort of covering,

although this change obviously impacts Aboriginal communities predominantly is a change to the Constitution and it impacts all Australians.

So we have a great group of academics here at UOW, non-Indigenous academics,

so give us their expertise and opinions on a couple of different topics

and across different expertise as well. So my name's Adam,

from south west Queensland. I grew up in Canberra on an all ngambri country

and now I'm up in Sydney on Gadagl country and I think just in that shows the diversity of our peoples as well, which hopefully

this voice can represent. I'll introduce the panel by letting them introduce themselves.

I know very lazy of me as a panel host but we'll start from this way.

And Belinda, please introduce yourself how you'd like to be introduced. Thanks, Adam. Hi everyone.

My name is Belinda and I was born in Wagga Wagga and I would like to pay respects to the Wiradjuri people,

the traditional custodians of the place in which I was born. Thank you Belinda My name is Neve Kinchen.

I was born in Ireland and I'd like to acknowledge the people who are the traditional custodians of the place where I was raised.

My name is Alfredo and I was born in Manila in the Philippines, and the Negrito were the Aboriginal people

in Manila. My name is Trish.

I was born and raised in Mount Druitt in Western Sydney, and I would like to honor

and pay my respects to the Durag people who are the traditional owners of the land on which I grew up.

Yeah, and they all excellent academics as well. All of that talked to and I had great bio's but I won't go through them.

You can sort of explore that when we get to the questions as well.

So again, the slido is there get on to it. If you have any questions, as I'm sure much you might actually come in

with questions as well. So if we don't address it through the panel, we'll be sure to pick it up

as well with the password of hashtag UOW. So I think it would be quite good to just jump in

so we can make sure we can address any questions that come through and we'll start with you, Trish.

So, Trish. You and a small legal team were engaged by the Vice-Chancellor

to investigate the Uluru Statement the constitutional reform proposal

and how it impacted the university, UOW. Can you just describe that journey

that you undertook in order for UOW to solidify our position, meaning

the University's position to support the Uluru Statement from the heart? Yeah. Thanks.

Yes. And I think actually is an important first statement is to say that actually that that small legal team was brought together

at the initiative of the Vice-Chancellor. And I think actually that leadership has has actually been really instrumental

and important to recognise the so the Vice-Chancellor brought together, I guess key people that she felt really

I guess had a contribution to make. But also I guess could look at some of the obstacles and opportunities

for UOW in this move to decide about supporting the statement or not.

And I think, you know, that that team myself, I was Dean of law

at the time we had Greg Rose who was our then chair of Academic Senate.

We had Coiln Picker who is the Executive Dean of BAL and also Meg West, who was the

General Counsel of UOW. So by coincidence, we were all lawyers. I am not sure that that was designed that way, but but that's how it how it worked out.

And I think that team of people really decided that there was no obstacle really to UOW

supporting the statement and the associated constitutional reform.

And I think, in fact, what that team, while recognizing that, of course, this was political,

but as an institution of higher education, that in fact, the university had a great

responsibility and opportunity to actually play a role in education

and as an institute of higher education that that actually the statements and, you know,

the constitutional reform to recognize our First Nations people, in fact, aligns with the university's values and with our stated,

championing of equity and social justice. So, in fact, we saw that it was it was really critical and connected

to to who we were as an institution. So in terms of the

and I guess also I will just say that it really also went hand in hand with the work that we were doing internally within the university

through our reconciliation action plan and some of the ways in which we were embedding First Nations culture within the things

that we did within the university, I can point to our graduation ceremonies is actually one of those really powerful examples.

So I guess key to us thinking about next steps in realizing our support

for the statement and constitutional reform or recognition

was the recognition that we needed to walk together, that this was a shared path

and that we needed to actually walk beside First Nations people in this space.

And as a shared path that we needed to listen to our First Nations staff

and students and actually work out a plan moving forward together. And I think the first thing that we did was have that conversation

with Woolyungah Indigenous Center about how we move forward we then moved through getting formal recognition

at the university level, through academic Senate, through University Council and the Council and Senate

unanimously....well, actually I, I can't hand or not say

it was unanimous because I wasn't there, but there was endorsement all at both Senate and Council for the University's support

for the statement and, and constitutional reform. And I'm incredibly proud of that.

I in terms of after the formal endorsement phase,

I think then we went about really creating opportunities for people to learn about what the statement was all about,

what the constitutional recognition and the voice was all about. So we had a number of different, you know, forums throughout,

you know, the time where people could ask questions and learn about that.

And I think what has also been really fantastic is our current online community

called Yarn Up, where we've got 300 plus I think from memory people, staff and

primarily staff, but perhaps students as well, but primarily staff who have joined that online community.

And we're actually sharing knowledge and information about, you know, events, events like this.

So it's been incredibly powerful. And I think from my perspective, is just a final piece

that I will say is that UOW had this kind of formal endorsement or support for the constitutional reform

really for me reflects commitment on two levels. First, it's a recognition of our responsibility

and the opportunity that we have as a higher institution to to be able to educate and to play a part in truth

telling more broadly and support that. But as I said internally, I think really important to,

the work that we're doing to make sure that we are creating a culturally safe space for our First Nation staff and students.

Thanks Trish It's really good to hear that sort of long story of how UOW came to that position.

And as a former student, you know, I'm proud to have the institution back something quite formally and as well and to speak about reconciliation.

So I should acknowledge that it is Reconciliation Week in this event is part of that. And we do have additional panels that are focusing on the voice as well.

So I do encourage if you're not signed up to them to go to it, that includes one with Jeff Scott,

who's been around Aboriginal affairs for a very long time, and he's doing a lot of work with Uluru dialogs.

And then we have an all Aboriginal panel as well. So just jump on the website and sign up to them because you know, UOW

does have a really good commitment to reconciliation and through the leadership of the Woolyungah Indigenous Centre, and Jamie Beveridge, it's been really great to see

where the university is going with that all. So Neve,

as a law expert have you come across any discussions either for or against around

embedding of voice to Parliament that you feel needs to be debunked? We know this conversation is sort of heating up in the public come

there's a lot of different claims going around from your expertise. is there anything you think?

Yeah, there's a lot going around, but I'd like to focus on two. The first is the inclusion of the words executive government in the provision,

in the respect that the voice will be able to make representations to the executive government

first. It's really important that the voice is able to make representations to the executive government

because it's the executive government that formulate the laws and the policy and implement them.

So then what does will this mean that the executive government will and the Parliament will be obliged to follow the representations of the voice?

The provision doesn't actually say anything about how the voice is to be received. It doesn't create obligations in relation to following what the voice says.

They made itself termed in language of representation. However, that isn't going to particularly prevent

the Parliament from creating legislation which says that in some certain contexts

the voice representation should be taken into account. And there's no doubt that the Parliament will do that in certain

contextual situations. So what's that then? The what then is the implication for litigation and the High Court?

Does that increase the chances of litigation? First of all, in relation to the executive government,

you don't just challenge executive policy for a start executive governments policy. It has to be part of some kind of dispute

where there's one or more parties involved. So there has to be a dispute first of all, and someone has to have standing

or has to have the ability to actually take that dispute to the court but let's say we get past that.

Much of what the executive does is what we call non justiciable in the sense it's actually not appropriate for the courts to to actually consider it.

What the executive government does is often highly political, polycentric, complex

cases, say, for example, which isn't particularly relevant here. Are international relations.

The court will not consider those things. What the court says is this isn't appropriate for the court, this is appropriate for the executive government.

So many of those things will not come before the court, but in some cases they may.

What will happen there is the court will ask itself if the legislative context is appropriate,

did the decision maker take the representation of the voice into account?

And that means did the decision maker turn their mind to it? Did they consider it?

Did they weigh up the evidence in relation to what the representation was? If the court says the answer is no, what the court then does is

send it back to the decision maker and say, remake this decision. Taking into account the representation for the voice,

the court will not say what the outcome of that decision will be. So we have a very established system that actually prevents

a flood gates, which is the argument that's comes up there's no sense that lawyers are going to be walking into courts

and slinging the mud at walls and seeing what's going to stick. Lawyers know that they need to have reasoned,

reasoned arguments that based on based on those things that I'm talking about or they don't get through the front door of the courthouse.

The second issue that I really wanted to talk about was the contention that it creates a racialised constitution

and confers racial advantage to one group over others.

My first point is that that this is not about race, that giving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands a voice in Parliament

is about recognizing that they are the first peoples of this nation and that accords with United Nations principles and recommendations

to work towards self-determination for indigenous people. The second thing is calls that this may cause our racialized constitution

completely disingenuous when race is already in the constitution. There is something called the race power, which gives the Parliament

the ability to make laws special laws that are necessary in regards to race already.

There is also another section in there in this in the Constitution that's around race, which is broad, it's largely redundant, but it exists in there.

So then the question is, is does this confer disadvantage on non-Indigenous people?

And the answer is simply no. It takes away no rights of non-Indigenous people and it confers no new obligations.

And then the final question has to be does this confer advantage on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples?

The reality is, is this is about equity of participation in legal processes and that is not just formal equity.

It has to also be about recognizing where there has been marginalized voices and raising those marginalized voices up.

And the High Court recognizes that as well. Oh, sorry, I just lost my train of thought and I knew that I would do that in

just a moment. Sorry, yes. So of course Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders voices have been

completely marginalized prior to 1967. They were actively excluded from parts of the Constitution.

Despite all the best intentions of the 1967 referendum. The race power still exists in a way that there is an ability to create

detrimental laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples because the High Court has left that wide open

and there's no positive recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and you know, if we had had the voice in 2007 then Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Islander people would have at least had a say in the NT interventions. So this is not about conferring advantage, it is remedying disadvantage.

Thanks Trish. And with Reconciliation Week that did start off with marking the 1967 referendum and then there has been conversations

about how this may pull that back and I think you addressed it quite clearly that in fact that referendum simply entrenched

that power really just transferred to the the Federal Parliament

so yeah and it's only ever been used for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well. So that that's how it's been used in the past.

We'll now go to Alferdo Make me proud.

I'll be I'll be sending remarks later but do you see any economic

impact for society with this change. Right. So I guess I should first preface the answer by saying that I am coming

from a country that was occupied by foreign nations as well. First the Spanish, then the British and the Spanish.

Again, and the Americans and the Japanese and the Americans again. So I do share the the generational trauma and the

with the Uluru statement from the Heart, the torment of powerlessness that has brought forth this call

for recognition by Indigenous Australians. And I think the voice of Parliament represents a significant,

crucial step towards empowering the Indigenous Australians so they can control their economic lives.

But to be honest, it's difficult to provide any evidence on the economic impact of the the voice of Parliament.

I am not aware of any studies that have been performed ex-ante and studying it exposed is also a difficult

to undertake thing, right, because of something that statisticians and economists call the fundamental problem of causal inference, right?

You would need to observe two versions of Australia, one with a voice and one without the voice and track economic indicators over time.

But of course there is only one version of Australia at any given time.

Right? So it's a difficult undertaking to evaluate and expose right, however

there are other areas of economics that we can draw lessons from, right?

So economics is a very broad. We look at, for example, political economy. We look at new institutional economics which really examines

how institutions are organized in society. And how they can deliver economic impacts.

And from that literature we can draw some lessons, right? So one lesson is looking at the abolition of apartheid in South Africa.

Economists like looking at utility. Of course, utility is very difficult to measure. So we ask questions instead that pertain to life satisfaction.

So you would be asked a question in a scale of one to five, how would you rate your life in general

with five being the most satisfied, one being the dissatisfied? So we do observe an increase in life satisfaction at the end of apartheid

in South Africa. But the question that economists would ask is, is that because of better outcomes that,

you know, underrepresented minorities in South Africa experienced or is it because of increased representation in how they determine their lives?

Well, as it turns out, it's both right. Of course, people are much happier if they are better off in society.

But also they were much happier because they were able to participate in things that determine aspects of their lives.

What economists call procedural utility. So utility not just derive because you are richer, but

because you are able to participate in making the decisions that made you richer.

Right. Of course, dictatorships and democratic governments can in principle achieve the same outcomes.

In principle. But as it turns out, things that are achieved through democratic means

value are valued much more by people than those that are dictated upon. Right.

Another thing that kind of like addresses the problem of causal inference head on is the right, of course,

a randomized controlled trial, which political economists have done. And they look at it

particularly separating the mechanism of vote versus the Voice.

And I will, you know, paraphrase in their study, the crucial factor that determines

the efficiency of the organization is not so much whether people can vote, but rather whether they were consulted or the Voice right.

So all this to say that it's a difficult question to answer when we're seeking evidence for the economic impact of the Voice

but I think that question misses the point entirely, actually, because the strongest argument for the Voice is not utilitarian.

It's not consequentialist it's not whether it can deliver the best economic outcomes. I think the strongest case for the Voice

is that it is a recognition of the special status of First Nations people in Australia and their recognition of the historical

and contemporaneous injustices that they are experiencing. So I think through the Uluru statment from the Heart

and the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, Indigenous Australians really are calling for a new era of economic opportunity and equality

that benefits all Australians and I think we should listen. HD, that was really good Good. Thank you.

There was a bit there. I'm like feeling like my lectures, but we go back. Thank you. I'll take my HD.

I'm like correlation, not causation. I was back there, but you know, it's really useful and you

because there is a lot of misinformation out there and this happens with Aboriginal affairs

when anything, any changes proposed suddenly becomes back to sort of what happened around the native title of Aboriginal people.

We advocate people out of their homes and that sort of thing. So I think also

I know that's not really an economic question that challenged me, but I think it's good to point out

that it's not really an economic change. It can influence the changes, particularly in the institutions of Australia,

because it does that by definition. Yeah. Thanks for sharing that.

We'll get Belinda on now. I know Belinda as well.

We did some work together actually, so I do get around a bit,

but you're an expert on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, so I'm really interested.

What will the referendum and the constitutional reform, how will that support or advance any of those,

that sort of infrastructure or any of those goals? Thanks Adam. I would just firstly like to acknowledge that the beautiful land

on which I'm very grateful to be on today is Aboriginal land and pay respects to Aboriginal colleagues that are in the room and online

I guess. Not sure how we define expert, but I'll give it a red hot crack.

As you know, many of you know in this room, the SDGs are all about improving people's lives whilst protecting our natural resources

and they, they do this. The framework does this. It cuts through divisions of development, politics, economics,

it cuts through sectors, it cuts through religions. And it cuts through through, through race.

And it asks us to come together and collaborate and partner

to work together on some of the most significant challenges that our generation will face.

The UN acknowledges that, you know, we will not truly achieve sustainable development without protecting our traditional knowledge systems.

And so the referendum and constitutional reform is all about protecting our First Nations peoples knowledge

systems. I guess if we think about, you know, the Sustainable Development

Goals, in particular sustainable development, goal for quality education.

We are already advancing and supporting that sustainable development goal by being here today and we are having a conversation

and we are all learning more. So yes, the reform and Constitution will

advance and support the Sustainable Development Goals from a quality education perspective.

Our First Nations people being able to have a voice for us to be able to listen, hear that voice and take that advice.

Hear their stories, their songs will enable us to learn more about our environment and learn more about our nation's history.

So SDG four is a big one. I wonder what came to your mind

when you guys listened to this question. Have you got any

Carly? Call me. Give me one. More.

Probably I would say 13 is probably climate action is the one that actually comes to mind.

First it's it's the one that we're all thinking about at the moment. So our First Nations people have ancient knowledge,

ancient through generations of sustained communities that have lived on our country for thousands and thousands of years.

And that and those generations have so much knowledge about the relationships that humans have with the environment.

And we need to hear that and we need to listen to it and we need to take that that advice

so the voice will strengthen our capacity, our adaptive capacity to climate

related hazards and natural disasters. SDG 15 life on land.

Our First Nations people are our de facto guardians of biodiversity. We live in a country that has thousands of unique species

of of animals and plants. And we need to listen

you know, to those things that are that are going extinct and and that are under threat.

So we need to listen. And the voice will ensure that their advice is heard so that we can conserve

resource and sustain, I guess, as we move forward and live and want to live, you know, on this country

is SDG six clean water. I could go on forever, but I'm only going to do a couple

so six water is our most precious resource if we don't have it, there is there is nothing.

First Nations peoples for thousands and thousands of years had know how to sustainably use water.

OK, so these are some of the topics that are coming up is SDG 2, zero hunger.

And getting the balance right between what we eat, our food, the ecosystems, what we grow, how we grow

and of course SDG 17, which is partnerships that's a big one, how we work together

and how we come together because this this planet is at risk and we are facing many slowly creeping crises

that, you know, we say a little bit, but underlying they are forever growing.

So I feel that it is our it is our responsibility to give our indigenous people a voice and ultimately will be

for the wellbeing of of our planet. Yeah. Thank you. Thanks. And I think it's also good to sort of ground the conversation

around the voice, around the process that has led us to this moment as well.

It's not something new. It's been well, even in the constitutional sense, it's been a decade of different processes, including the dialogs

that led to the statement. And although there is diversity in views in Aboriginal communities as well,

you know, it is one of the longest processes that have have occurred. So it is a proposition that's been put forth by Aboriginal people too

and that plays I think an important factor this next question is going across all four of our guests

and it's a pretty simple one but an interesting one. So I'm looking forward to hearing your perspectives on it.

You can either take that from your academic perspective or add in your own personal views outside of that doesn't,

doesn't have to be a scientific experiment. You don't need a paper Alfredo, I'm

sorry, I'm enjoying this too much so we'll start

with Tricia and then move along. But the question is if the yes, vote is successful

and the constitutional change comes about, how will impact non-Indigenous Australian people.

thank you. I'm being optimistic and I'm not saying if I'm saying win because I truly believe actually that it

will happen. How will it impact non-Indigenous people?

Look, I actually think it will impact it significantly. Of course this is about giving a voice to

Indigenous people through the constitutional reform process. But I think the really in order for us to achieve reconciliation

or meaningful reconciliation in this country, we actually we,

we need to do that from a place of respect and from a place of,

of, of mutual respect and working together. And to me what the, what the voice does is it,

it is a platform to acknowledge all of the past injustices.

It's a platform for truth telling. And to me that is a necessary

critical step in order to achieve reconciliation. And we will all benefit from reconciliation.

But it can't happen until, I believe, and certainly what I feel like I hear

is, is the is the truth telling and the platform to really

for First Nations people to really put forward what it is that they need and to have us listen.

Alfredo Now I'm going to be struggling. No. Well, so I am an economist. Right.

And one of the if anyone is taking econ 100 the first lesson in economics is resources are scarce.

And I link that to kind of what I was saying earlier in that having a voice,

we have a very long and wide literature that looks at inclusive governance

and stakeholder engagement and how it impacts on organizational efficiency.

Having a voice, I think, will make governments much more efficient. Right.

And to the extent that efficiency means savings, that will allow many more resources to be spent on things that we think are important.

Right. So even for things that are matters completely within the purview of non-Indigenous Australians, to the extent that the Australian Government

can save resources that will matter to them it is not something that you can sort of overestimate that importance,

especially now that everyone here is acutely aware of the problems of cost of living,

people struggling to pay rent, people are struggling to find housing

and a much more efficient government a much more efficient government that decides where to spend money most productively

will benefit not just the Indigenous Australians, but also the non-Indigenous Australians.

So all Australians really will benefit from from that and that comes from primarily

having the consultative process that the voice will enshrined in the Constitution.

So that's a very crucial point. Yeah. Yeah. And I think what you're sort of speaking to relates to what's really laid

out in the rights to Indigenous people through the United Nations, that of self-determination and being able to have

consulted on anything that impacts them. And that's really what the voice is about.

I mean I think from a law perspective and a constitutional law perspective, I spoke to this anyway because I think it doesn't really it doesn't

impact any obligations or take away any rights of non indigenous people. It introduces some legal principles that are part of our normal legal system

that would just need to be taken into account. But that's, that's the way it works. That happens all the time. So I don't see that.

But I think more broadly, I think for those of us that support the voice and support social justice, it

it allows us or perhaps it firms maybe or steps towards the Australia that we, we want to be

and that we see ourselves as and we are able to maybe stand a little taller in the international space when we look at ourselves in the mirror.

Because I think for many of us, like I say this, sometimes I feel so out of touch with what the Government is doing.

Certainly in the last few years and it doesn't seem to represent me. So I think we can just just be a little bit prouder of who we are

and maybe affirm with our own values so yeah, I just think that's a that would be a really positive thing for ourselves as our national identity.

Yeah. I guess for me is a bit of an analogy. I remember when, you know, during COVID and you know,

we turn on the TV every morning and you know. What. I know? Remember, PM was, you know, on in government at the time

and he would stand next to the chief financial officer and we would also have the hearing aid person standing next to them.

And I remember, you know, we would watch that and you know, probably for the first time in my generation, would you have

a prime minister standing next to a chief medical officer and listening to the chief medical officer

and taking advice because he didn't have the answers. And I think for me, I see it.

I know it's very different, but I do see it in that light in that our federal at that federal government level,

they are making decisions without the information that they need. And so I see I see it like that.

You know, whether it's on the TV like that, it should be. But that's how I see the conversation happening.

And that's what for me, as a non-indigenous person, that's what I that's what I want to see.

I want to see them listening because our country is in some serious, serious problems.

And we need to listen to people who have been there here a lot longer than us. So that's how I see it impacting us.

Yeah. And I think again, to go back to the or his statement, it was that invitation to all Australians.

So it really has always been about inviting Australians to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander people because we recognise that's the way we've got to move forward. And this is one step in a long,

long process. We've come

to the conclusion of my questions, so we've already got a few coming in.

But please add on to the questions and we do still have a bit of time to get to quite a few.

So we'll start from the first question that we got through

and I'll just read out. The Statement from the Heart calls for the Voice and Macchiato,

which is truth trailing in treaty. The no case is already littered with historical inaccuracies.

Well, what role does a panel think the University of Wollongong can play or should play in truth telling?

Great question, Dave. I think that was really good. So I'll open up to everyone.

You can give an answer, but who wants to go first or I'll pick someone because I got the power.

I'm happy to say a few words and I guess I'm I'm speaking or the answer I'm

providing is perhaps from the context of when I was dean of law.

So the law school has, you know, I guess long supported the statement

and certainly we made submissions. I can't recall if I mentioned this, but we, we

the law school had made a submission in support of the statement and

calling on the government to prioritize consultation with First Nations people around what the voice would look like.

So for me, you know, it is really critical that, you know, the university

does play a part in this space, and I think it is very well placed to do so.

And certainly from the perspective of the law school, we see this opportunity through our curriculum so at the moment,

you know, the the law school is really doing an audit of its curriculum, looking at where opportunities are to embed

in the curriculum, this this truth telling in a sense that at at all levels.

So for me, it's critical and there are so many opportunity is and and I'm really proud of what

the university UOW is has been doing over the last of the last few years

in this space, taking those steps along a long way to go.

But I feel like we have really prioritized partnerships working, walking together and working together.

And and, you know, we are taking those baby steps and there's a lot more to be done.

But the critical role. Does anyone else have anything on it

it was a it was a good answer, HD! I'm just seeing how long that joke can run for.

So we got another good question. And I'm sure many in the audience would have seen this come up either

through the news or different panels. Will the will constitutional recognition

of First Nations people compromise sovereignty? And I guess in that sense they're talking

about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sovereignty. I might take this one

first of all, this is a really complicated question. It seems to be it seems to be simple, but it's absolutely not,

part of the reason is that is because the way that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island sovereignty is actually there,

different ways of looking at it across communities, but essentially so if we start with the fact that obviously Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Islanders sovereignty is about the connection obviously to

to custom and land and country and that it was, has always been here

so sort of false flags like terra nullius and that those principles we know we disregard those, it's never stopped.

There is a thinking that sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people exists alongside the Constitution and what needs to happen

so that it's never was never gone and it has always continued alongside. And so what there needs to happen is just better ways to

recognize that sovereignty. So through laws, through practice. So if we take that perspective and that's exactly what the voice is

doing, it's further recognizing Indigenous sovereignty. But I have to acknowledge that there's a different type of sovereignty

and the more the Western style type of sovereignty where it's about power and autonomy in an international law space and there are some discussions

around Indigenous sovereignty that is more along those lines

so that is where we see discussions around treaty and that's something that I don't want

to particularly talk about except to say that bringing the voice into the Constitution in no way prevents a treaty.

So this is not those two things. Don't particularly talk to each other. The treaty is something that the executive government will decide

upon, what will enter into and what that looks like. It's a separate thing. So whether that happens or not, the voice is not going to impact that.

So it is a little complicated because I said that it's the complicated view of what sovereignty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sovereignty is.

But I don't see the voice in either perspective taking away from it.

Thank you. That's great. And I think through the parliamentary process, a lot of the legal experts

have really explored what you just spoke to in really clear ways. If anyone has time and it's a nerd, you can go back

and watch them as well. We got we got another question.

Thanks for sending the questions through

Apparently the Liberal Party Party have taken a no position on the voice.

Is this purely political given that there's been so many benefits to representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

and all open it up or it's a big one.

It's not I never imagined myself in the position of Peter Dutton.

Yeah, I. Well I think it is, yes.

I mean I think that's the clear answer because I don't see, I don't see why that, that why there is there against the.

Yes, basically there's no there's no because of the reasons that we've discussed because of, you know, the constitutional reasons,

those sorts of things that I was trying to debunk are easily debunked. The the Voice is actually a very conservative constitutional change

and they know that. But the way the politics have evolved in recent years is that

parties are very responsive to their their electorates and the people, you know,

we see seeing the rise of populism I'm not particularly saying goes this far, but I cannot see that

it's just that it isn't political, that they are responding to what they believe their base wants, essentially.

Yeah. And so I just just also the point to say that to not support the voice is also political.

I mean, yeah, both both of those things are true. And I think this point. Is a good one

From a different not from a legal perspective whatsoever. I just think it is interesting, you know, from a non-legal perspective, you know, to watch this play out

you know, you know, in our house with, you know, with, with our children and to watch, you know, the Liberal Party

bring Aboriginal people into this discussion to have the counter argument. And so I think it's important that non-Indigenous people,

you know, don't speak on behalf of Aboriginal people. You know, we're not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and so I feel,

yeah, that's really, it's really important that even

he has, that he's speaking about it to be honest. And he's speaking very loud.

And so yeah, that that's I think that's interesting too that, that the respect. Yeah. That we're, that, that we're playing the yeah.

And I think it's always good to remember that its a referendum, so each of us, if we're enrolled to vote, we'll have our moment in that ballot box

and it's ultimately up to us and not what happens in Parliament.

So another one we got here is what do you suggest, and you've sort of spoken to this a bit in your answers already,

but I'll ask a bit more explicitly, what do you suggest non-Indigenous people need to do now until the vote

in relation to educating and supporting the Yes vote

and I want to pick on Alfredo.

I think it's incumbent because it is a referendum, right?

There is a shared responsibility to educate each other on, on the issue.

And I did mention at the start I come from the Philippines, right? So I went to the University of the Philippines, the very kind of left

of Center University, a home for scholar activists.

And in 1972 Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law right. And you know, this is not a dictatorship that we have in Australia,

but I guess sometimes it might feel that way to those that are dispossessed.

In the campus newspaper, the Philippine Collegian had this front page story

in 1976, four years after the declaration of martial law and the question that was asked by the then editor in chief Abraham Sarmiento

was, you know, speaking to Tagalog (Translation follows) Which in English is

if we do not speak up, who will speak up? If we do not act, who will act?

And if not now, when? I think it's important for people

leaving this room today to ask yourselves that question. Right, who will do it right, if not all of us, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous

to ask the question and to advocate for what I feel is so patently obvious, a social justice issue.

Right. That's that's my take on it. Next. Can I add to that? I think

we also have to consider what not to do. Don't get angry at different opinions.

Don't you know, listen? Well, I guess when you're having those conversations, you all have them with different people in your lives, in different forums.

But it can sometimes be frustrating when people have very different opinions to you that may go against some of your core values,

but it's also really important not to react angrily and basically extinguish that conversation very quickly, listen respectfully

and then perhaps then present a rational and clear argument back.

But just think about the way that those arguments run. And if you need to to step back, do before you can reengage

and I would like to add that I feel is a non-Indigenous person and non-Indigenous people

generally have the lion's share of actually doing the work here. And I guess speaking as

a queer woman who experienced the marriage equality debate, in fact I was talking about that a little earlier.

This is that on steroids because we're talking about, you know, a referendum, a constitutional change that will actually be much harder

to to achieve than than a postal vote. And I know the experience for me and my community

during that time and I can't even imagine what that is. And and I was so grateful

to my allies, to my family and friends who actually actively

stood up and spoke and in support of marriage equality

as it's just a no brainer that this was just a social justice and equality issue that really needed to happen.

So I really just want to say that we as non-indigenous people have the full responsibility to get this over the line.

And I am I just see it as such an opportunity, a collective opportunity for us all to not only do the right thing,

but actually to to do exactly as Neave said, which is actually allow us to stand taller and to, to, you know, to get this done.

Yeah, thanks. And as a former student, it's really powerful to hear you speak. And I know if there's an Aboriginal student watching this,

it means something to them to hear staff speaking about this in impassioned ways.

I know you'd hate me saying Alfredo, you spoke compassionately further. We have one more question.

So given Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have significantly worse health health outcomes, can you see the changes in the Constitution

as an actual way forward to rectify the inequality in health?

Yes, I definitely do. Good health and well being in this country

is, is, is actually from a sustainable development goal perspective.

They love their lovely their dashboards. And whilst we think as a country, you know,

have a healthy society, we actually we don't and a lot and and you know, we don't have good health systems and especially

for our First Nations, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. And we need to listen to their voice to understand, you know,

what they need in that regard. Alternate medicines, alternate resources, alternate ways.

We need to understand that and start to infiltrate that and those knowledge systems through our through our systems.

Thank you. So that brings us to an end to the panel.

I want to thank all four of you for coming today. I'm sure you're very busy.

That wasn't sarcastic. Yes. Thank you.

Thank you very much. It's really great to have this open dialog in universities and to invite everyone through.

So thank you very much. For your time. And I also want to thank Woolyungah, Indigenous Centre and Jaymee Beveridge in particular.

She has done amazing work in the years that she's been here. And had the impact on me as a student.

I'm sure everyone in the university is noticing change at UOW. So thank you very much.

And yes, if you haven't signed up to the talks, please do. It's really important, the Aboriginal perspectives as well.

So thank you very much.

2023 National Reconciliation Week at UOW - Session 2

In this session you will be introduced to the history of referendums and the Australian Constitution and be provided with deeper context around what the Voice to Parliament will look and feel like for general Australia.

I've got a story to tell you. It's a good one. It's about how these people, the first people got a voice.

60,000 years they've been speaking at 363 languages,

but no voice, no say in matters which affected them. It wasn't right.

So me and your granddad, me and your mum, the whole nation did something about it.

People call their friends and families. People talk about it on the streets. Talk about it at work on the field.

Everybody made a song and dance about it. Everyone walked side by side.

And that's how we changed this country for the better. How we made history.

Is that story true? It could be.

Welcome to you.

I'm Tammy, and I'd just like to welcome you all to our event today. So unfortunately, Jeff wasn't able to make it but

we've provided an alternative. And we thank you for coming to our hosting online hosting this morning

and today, where we are very lucky to have a couple of people from the Youth Dialog with us.

So today's session is our second session for National Reconciliation Week. The theme is; Be a voice for generations.

So I'd like to also acknowledge that we've got some of our panel members from yesterday in the room, and I thank them and acknowledge their contribution

to this journey that we're on together here as a collective community. So our session here today is a referendum one on one,

and you'll be covering a lot of our basics of a referendum, what's required and what we need in order for us to move over the line together.

I'd firstly like to acknowledge Country and the people of this place in space. So I'd also I'd like to acknowledge that we're very lucky to be situated

on the Wollongong campus. Never have I been to a university that is so beautiful and so entrenched with country in every aspect that I look.

It reminds me on a daily basis that we are Country, we are water, and it's very much a part of us.

I think as a part of our time here in the journey that we're on now, we need to reflect on our relationship with country And today is a good day to do that.

And this week is a fantastic time to reflect on on what your relationship with Country is. What are your thoughts on country and how can you be that voice for generations

when you're discussing topics and when you're acknowledging Country? So I'd like to acknowledge that we're guided by Grandmother Mountain

here in the wisdom and in all her glory, and she's fabulous and spectacular in that sunlight.

I'd like to acknowledge and give a shout out to all our people online and the nations people in which you're zooming in or dialing in from today.

I'd also like to like to welcome. Today we have with us Bridey and Bridget.

Bridget will be joining us a bit later, but Brandy from the youth dialog. And I'd also like to open up for her to acknowledge country as well.

Hi, everyone. I'd like to acknowledge the winners of the digital people in Sydney, which is where I'm zooming in from today.

I'd also like to acknowledge all of those First Nations people that are in attendance today.

Thanks so much and we'll move into our session. So again, thank you for joining us in this viewing.

And you have many opportunities to ask questions. Be sure to log in to UOW Slido, and this is where all the questions

can be placed from the floor. And this is how we will be answering the questions about halfway through the session.

Thanks Brydie. Hey, everyone. Thank you. So my name is Brydie Zorz I'm a tribal woman

with connections in central west New South Wales. I'm currently a member of the Older Youth Dialog, so that we're youth

dialog is a crucial group of First Nations young people from across the country and I crucial in educating community

on the upcoming referendum and the Uluru statement from the heart. We sit directly under the Uluru dialog, which is co-chaired by Professor Megan

Davis and Aunty Pat Anderson, and was established in 2017 to continue to push for the reforms called for in the statement

and is also currently the leading education campaign on the Voice to Parliament and the Uluru statement.

So today we're just going briefly through the statement from the Heart We'll explain the voice referendum and what's happening

and we'll give you some resources as well. We will also open it up for questions at the end.

So if you submit your questions through slider, we'll be sure to get them at the end.

On the next slide we'll just play a brief video to introduce you to the session

and I think the messaging

from the Uluru Convention is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are going to take control back of this recognition process.

I think what we heard from all the dialogs was overwhelmingly universal

in that people wanted the tools to make an actual difference to their lives on the ground.

We distilled all of the information that the 13 Dialogs gave us and came out with a model

that involved treaty making a voice to the Parliament and a truth commission.

We cannot continue to go on any more being voiceless and powerless in our own lands.

So far, we don't have any say in any legislation, any policy at all. So from here, what we're saying to Australia

is this relationship between us is very poor relationship full of rampant racism and what have you has to stop.

The country has to be mature and sophisticated enough to have an intelligent conversation so we can all move forward

and solve this unfinished business between us all. But it's definitely time

People want to make sure the truth is never forgotten and that

we as Australians, we can talk truthfully about the past. We should never let the past be a burden

upon us. But at the same time, it will always be a burden

if we don't face up to it. And denial? Denial is no solution to that burden.

In fact, the weight of that burden increases the more determined we are to try and force

a denial and a forgetfulness about it. So one of the really strong messages from all of the dialogs, but emphasized

here this week, is that the First Nations want our own people

and the rest of Australia to engage in a process of truth telling.

A lot like other societies that have been wracked by division and the wounds of the past, a lot of other societies have established

truth telling processes to lay the groundwork for a more united future.

And this is what our people have done here this week. In my work

as a United Nations expert, I've been able to look across the 70 countries of the United Nations who have significant

indigenous populations and see that that kind of a voice to the Parliament that kind of parliamentary institution is quite a conventional

way that Member States accommodate indigenous peoples within the state.

So it's no surprise to me that that has come up as a significant legal reform option for communities

who feel like they don't have any power and they don't have any voice. And what we did hear from the dialogs right around the country

is a very strong sense of powerlessness and voicelessness. People feel they don't have community control anymore.

They feel like their communities have run from Canberra. And I think that's a really important message for the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader to take to hear

that communities feel so profoundly unhappy with the way Aboriginal politics are

situated and located within the life of the Australian state. There's heaps of overlap, heaps of common ground,

heaps of common themes and of course the consensus was around

us calling for a voice to Parliament constitutionally mandated.

It is a substantial proposal and it's critically important proposal

and the message that came out of the dialogs was unanimous on this and it was confirmed

as the priority But the hopes of

our people are that it will be this voice that sets up the next stage of our movement

towards agreement making under a Makarata Commission. The old idea of a Makarata is more than 30 years old.

It's a well-established idea, a name for people

coming together after a disagreement And so the concept of the Makarata has been re

invoked in our struggle and

where the the Uluru Statement says that one of the functions of the voice to parliament is to advocate

with Government, the establishment of a Makarata

a commission to supervise agreement making between First Nations and governments.

That video was created after the 2017 National Constitutional Convention on and I like to watch it

just because it sets the scene for when we talk about the Uluru statement and the Voice.

So on the next slide we'll talk about the Uluru statement and how it was issued

to the Australian people

So yes, as you can see on the statement from the heart calls for a sequence order of reforms The first is a First Nations

where the Parliament enshrined in the constitution. And the second is a Makarata commission that would oversee

treaty or agreement making processes and truth telling processes. So it was envisioned that the voice would have the ability to speak

directly to both Parliament and the executive government as well as the possibility of state and territory governments

if that state or territory wanted to engage with the national voice. The sequencing of voice and Makarata is deliberate in that order.

And this was carefully considered by the First Nations peoples who participated in the deliberative process that led to the statement being issued in 2017

So the first reform, the voice is the constitutional reform called for by the Uluru statement.

The voice must come first. And this isn't necessarily because the voice is more important, but rather it provides substantial structural change

that allows First Nations to have some self-determination and political power to then embark on Makarata

So treaty processes where First Nations are equals at the table. And truth telling processes that are done on our terms

and aren't just a tick a box exercise. So the statement provides a pathway towards

dealing with the unfinished business of our nation's past. And the voice is the next pragmatic step in that journey.

So the voice of the delegates to the regional dialogs envisioned and which the constitutional amendment must achieve,

is that it must establish the First Nations voice as an enduring form of recognition for First Nations peoples.

It must describe and protect the voices, primary or core function of conveying the views of First Nations people to the Parliament and government.

And it must empower Parliament to legislate the detailed design of the voice and make necessary amendments over time.

To adapt to changing circumstances, as well as allowing flexibility for the voice to talk to state and territories.

So the only statement from the heart is an opportunity for Australia to begin this journey.

It's an opportunity for Australians to meet First Nations people and to hear what we have to say. It's an opportunity for all of us to reimagine what this nation can look like

and young people to the dialogs. Especially talked about not wasting this moment on the Uluru statements says

that was substantive constitutional change and structural reform. Our ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia's nationhood.

And at the end it is about Makarata which is the culmination of our agenda, the coming together after a struggle.

So Makarata captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia.

And a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination. As you can see on the screen, over a decade of work,

specifically on constitutional recognition of First Nations people.

So throughout our shared history there have been consistent calls from First Nations peoples for a representative voice in decision making.

The right to self-determination treaty and for the truth to be told about First Nations and Australian history.

So it's important to understand that the latest statement and the reforms it calls for weren't just something developed in the dialogs, but a culmination of decades

of First Nations advocacy to take our rightful place in our country. So since 2010, we've seen no fewer than seven processes and ten reports

that have attempted to deal with the recognition of First Nations peoples in the Constitution. So I won't list them all

but essentially in 2011 the government established an expert panel on recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,

and that gave its final report in 2012 Then in 2013 we saw Parliament pass and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Act.

And through that they established a joint select committee on constitutional recognition.

In 2014 on that committee handed down their report and their final report of the act of recognition

review panel, which is now known as the Anderson Review, was released.

So where things really kick off is in 2015 and and that's

this was when the Kirribilli statement was issued by 40 senior leaders after meeting with the then Prime Minister and Opposition Leader and these leaders

called for a new process of consultation of Indigenous communities. They declared that they wouldn't support a symbolic restoration

on referendum and they issued the Kirribilli statement that read any reform must involve substantive changes to the Australian constitution.

It must lay the foundation for the fair treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the future.

A minimalist approach that provides preamble recognition removes section 25 of the Constitution or moderates.

The racist power does not go far enough and would not be acceptable to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

So in response to this statement, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten established the Referendum Council.

So it was the Referendum Council's First Nations members that designed the consultation with all of the regional dialogs

and that led to the process that delivered the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017.

So following the issuing of the Uluru statement, again we saw the establishment of another joint select committee

and then of course we saw the lengthy Calma design process and reports. However, we're now preparing to hold a referendum following the announcement

of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on election night last year. Um, but

I think it's just important to take a step back and look at the process leading up to the statement

and the next slide you'll see the Uluru dialogs. So as I previously mentioned, the Referendum Council was established

by Turnbull and Bill Shorten following the Kirribilli statement. So the Referendum Council was made up of sixteen

Indigenous and non-Indigenous members and included, among others, Pat Anderson, Professor Megan Davis, Mark Liebler, Mike Gleason, Noel Pearson,

and many other incredible people. It was the First Nations members of the Referendum Council who designed the consultation.

of the regional dialogs This process was carefully deliberated, designed and tested over a two year period before it was rolled out.

So after a few test sites, consultation began in 2016 and over 2016 in 2017,

closely with local and regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authority bodies to host each of the regional dialogs

at each dialog. There were up to 100 first Nations peoples invited and this was determined by their local and regional communities.

So those in attendance were deliberately made up of 60% for first nations and traditional groups, 20% for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities,

community controlled organizations, and a further 20% for key individuals. That didn't necessarily fit into either of the other categories, but

had really key voices, youth participation and gender balance were also really important considerations in those invited to participate.

And at these dialogs, delegates were asked what meaningful constitutional reform meant to them.

So as you can see on the slide, these are some charters from the dialogs that occurred. So each dialog was held over about two and a half days.

So the agenda was a structured agenda, and it involved intensive civics education

on the Australian legal and political system and the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocacy

for structural, legal and political reform. So there was discussion

on the word recognition and overview of relevant constitutional and legal frameworks and comparative international models.

So these dialogs the six principal reform options were discussed and these included a statement of acknowledgment within or outside

the Constitution, amendment or replacement of the race power, repeal of section 25 of the Constitution, constitutional prohibition

of racial discrimination, agreement making or treaty, and an Indigenous voice to Parliament with a base in the Constitution.

So in working groups, delegates examined and reported back on the reform options, including possible benefits and concerns

and their preference preference for what should be taken forward. So symbolism was immediately dismissed as an option.

Delegates talked about the need for a reform that allowed them to have a say over the issues that affect their lives.

But the reform had to be substantive and structural reform that gives First Nations people's voices a platform in our people political power

to engage in the democratic system that is silenced and shut out First Nations people's enabling policies and decisions made about us to keep the status

quo and people stuck in this situation we're in as a country which is where we're unable to move forward.

So that's a bit of an overview that appeared on the regional dialogs in the process leading up to the statement.

Now we'll jump into the voice referendum and what's happening currently So

in last year, when she was elected Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese committed to the order.

He said in full He also committed to holding a referendum in his first term of government and we're now well on our way

to holding a referendum at the end of this year. So on the next slide, you'll see

the most recent update we've had, which is that a joint select committee was established to inquire on the proposed question

and amendments that has been put forward by the Prime Minister. The Joint Select Committee resolved to support the constitutional amendment

in question after community consultation across the country and after receiving public submissions.

So as you can see on the slide, this is the current proposed question that is before Parliament.

So on the 23rd of March this year, Prime Minister Anthony. Anthony Albanese announced with the question

and amendment that will be put to us at the referendum later this year. This amendment in question was developed

in consultation with the First Nations Referendum Working Group. So as you can see in the question reads a proposed law

to alter the constitution to recognize the first peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice.

Do you approve this proposed alteration? And essentially everyone will go to the polls just like you do on a federal election

and will either yes or no in a box in relation to this question. On the next slide is the proposed amendment.

So as you can see, it reads In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

as the First Peoples of Australia one, there shall be a body to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander body voice rather

to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice may make representations to the Parliament and the executive government of the Commonwealth on matters

relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. And three the Parliament shall subject to this Constitution have power to make laws

with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice, including its composition functions, powers and procedures.

So as you can see, the amendment lays the core function of the voice in the Constitution, but specific details will come after in legislation

So in addition to the question and proposed amendment, the First Nations Referendum Working Group established

design principles that have been endorsed by the Australian Government that so if the proposed law is approved at the referendum, there will be a process

with First Nations communities, parliament and the broader public to settle the voice design on legislation to establish

the voice will then go through standard parliamentary processes to ensure adequate adequate scrutiny by elected representatives in both houses.

So on the next slide, it lists the design principles. So they give us an understanding of how the voice will look

and will be used to guide the process through which the specifics of the voice design are established.

So the voice will be chosen by First Nations people based on the wishes of local communities. The Voice will be representative

of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Gender balanced and included youth. The Voice will be empowering, community led, inclusive respectful

and culturally informed. It will be accountable and transparent. The Voice will work alongside existing organizations and traditional structures.

It will not have a program delivery function or veto power, and the Voice will give independent advice to Parliament and government.

But more information on the design principles are available at our website Ulurustatement.org.

So on the next slide, this is the referendum process. So in Australia, a referendum is a vote

which we use to approve a change to the Australian constitution and a section 128 of the constitution sets out certain rules

that we have to follow in order for the change to be approved. So a proposed change to the Constitution starts as a bill.

So a proposed law. This is presented to the Australian Parliament. If the bill is passed by the Parliament, the proposal must

then be presented to Australian voters in a referendum. The referendum has to take place between two and six months after

the bill is passed and the bill is currently before Parliament at the moment. So we're just waiting for it to go through both houses

So the referendum has to take place between two and six months

and members of Parliament normally prepare arguments for or against proposed changes

This is then sent to the Australian Electoral Commission, which is in charge of running federal elections and referendums.

The AEC arranges for yes and no cases, along with a statement of the proposed change to be passed on to every Australian on the electoral roll.

If we just jump back to the previous slide. Sorry, um, so currently we're between

one and two on this timeline. So on polling day, the voting process is

similar to the ones that are used for federal elections. So polling places will be set up at places like schools, public buildings.

Each voters name is marked off and people will write yes or no on their ballot paper.

So a referendum is only passed if it is approved by a majority of voters across the nation and a majority of voters in a majority of states.

And this is known as the double majority, but we'll get into that later.

So on the next slide, you'll see a bit of where we're at now. So the wording and propose the question has been

put into the Referendum Amendment Bill, which is titled Constitutional Alteration Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Voice 2023 and is now before Parliament, as I mentioned before. So it is just finished going through a joint select committee process

where it was stress tested by the Government and opposition. So the Joint Select Committee

held hearings in Canberra, Orange, Cairns, Perth and other places across the country.

Public submissions, were also accepted and after all it was resolved that it would be supported, as we mentioned before.

So as I said, we're just waiting for the bill to pass through Parliament and then we're well on our way to getting a referendum at the end of this year.

So on the next slide on this details the threshold for a successful referendum.

So as I said before, we need a double majority. So what this means is we need a majority of voters overall nationally

as well as a majority of parties in a voters of states. So territories like the NT and ACT

don't count towards the state, but they count towards the majority of voters nationally and in this country's

history, we're told about 44 referendums with only eight being successful. So obviously it's a really hard target to reach, but

we're confident that once people get informed, we can reach the threshold for a successful referendum.

It's also important to note that the last referendum we held on Indigenous issues was a 1967 referendum

and that was actually our most successful referendum in this country's history. So I think it's just cool to look back at that.

But on the next slide details some resources we have available on our website ulurustatement.org we have

a range of different resources you can use to make sure you're well informed. And can direct other people as well.

So we have supported kids videos and educational webinars, frequently asked questions.

We also recently partnered with SBS, which was an initiative Aunty Paterson ran

and have translated the statement into over 20 first Nations languages. And I think about 60 other languages, which is really incredible.

We also have training so you can understand specifics on the voice and a tool to write

to your MP's to keep them accountable and continue to push for people to support the voice.

So on the next slide, these are things, some things you can do if you choose to support the Voice.

This includes signing up to our website, following up on our social media and sharing our content.

So we're on Tick Tock, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all the important ones.

@ulurustatement. The most crucial one is to get informed and be able to have conversations

about the voice with family, friends and networks or even hold your own events similar to this one.

Um, and if you're a young person, in addition to our Uluru Youth Dialog, we also have the Uluru Youth network.

Um, so you can sign up to it via our website through the Our People tab.

Currently the dialog and the Uluru Youth Network are the only group of First Nations young people in this space advocating for a voice.

And it's really important as young people my elders and Aunty Pat and Megan always tell us,

you know, it's up to young people now for us to push forward and do the legwork so our old people don't have to do it.

So, you know, if that's something you really want to get involved in, I'd suggest signing up to our Youth Network. But

on the next slide is our first official ad we released at the end of last year.

So we'll play that for you now I've got a story to tell you.

It's a good one. It's about how these people, the first people got a voice.

but no voice, no say in matters which affected them. It wasn't right.

So me and your granddad, they and your mum, the whole nation did something about it.

People call their friends and families, people talk about it on the streets, talk about it at work on the field.

Everybody made a song and dance about it. Everyone worked side by side.

And that's how we changed this country for the better, how we made history.

It's the story true.

So on the screen is just the QR card that leads you to a sign up for

our newsletter. It won't spam you or anything., it's just so people can

keep up with what we're doing and find ways to support Bridget our co-chair of the Uluru Youth should be jumping on shortly.

Um, but in the meantime, if you have any questions, please send them through.

Thank you. Brydie Thank you so much for that. How fantastic.

To to see some of that or hear some of that. Thank you so much.

I think it's it's really important. I actually was over here and I got a bit teary because, you know, as a history teacher and watching and and, you know, teaching

about the plight for social and political justice in Australia and and over the years, the issues you know, the issues are the same.

It's our voices that that change so I'm excited that our youth are leading I'm excited that you made that statement there Brydie

because if we have a look at the population pyramid of Australia versus our Aboriginal Australian population, we'll see that a lot of our population sits within the youth or you know,

particularly over the past couple of years, it's a couple of years lag in data as as it always is when we look at Indigenous data sets it's but

that's a whole yarn we could have, have, you know, on data sovereignty. But you know, that tells us where our population lies

and in comparison with the water Australian public. So it's really important that we have our youth here and it makes me proud

and I hopefully in here I can say a lot of our non-Indigenous faces as well and hopefully it makes you, you know, I guess be more comfortable

in your vote that you're going to have a solid representation behind. And these are the voices of our generations and look at them, shine.

So thank you so much and we will now take some questions. Be sure to put your questions in on Slido

and we have our first question that's coming. Bridey, are you ready

yeah. Ready to go. Excellent. So what a fantastic questions you did touch briefly on this,

but what marketing and resources are being implemented in communities to strengthen understanding

of the upcoming referendum? Yes, for sure. So as I mentioned before, we've partnered with SBS

and have released and are continuing to release translations of the statement. We've also partnered with FECCA which is the Federation of

Ethnic Community Councils Australia and are exploring different options through them.

We were invited to speak at their conference last year which was incredible

but essentially like we are engaging with different, community organizations

in the culturally and linguistically diverse spaces as well as continuing to release translations and information,

that is accessible to everyone especially if English is not their first language.

Excellent. Thanks so much. We, we know that that's a really important part of the work that's, that's being done at the moment.

Is to make sure that everybody has a thorough understanding and can make an informed decision at this time.

We've got another question. Thanks for sending all these questions in, we've got a heap coming through.

So if you want to be heard, be sure to get on there and we'll try within our best endeavor to address these questions.

And if not, and we may you know, email some answers to you out as well if you have decided not to go anonymous in and we know who you are.

So as the voice is an advisory body and does not have veto power in government decisions, how can we ensure that treaty and truth

telling does indeed follow other in other advisory bodies have not resulted in real change

for the rights of incarceration and deaths in custody, child removal, indigenous health, et cetera.

You know, everything we find socially, just so yeah, what how can we ensure that a treaty and truth telling does indeed follow?

Yeah, I think this is a really important question, and I'm glad to whoever asked this.

I think having it a voice enshrined in the Constitution has not only the legitimacy of the majority

of the Australian people behind it and supporting it, but it does give us a little bit of political power that we need

to then embark on for the in truth processes. I think having a voice will give us a seat at the table

so when these processes happen, you know, there will be a body of people that have been

elected by the communities that can be consulted. I think having a voice will allow us to embark on these treaty and truth processes

in a way that is effective and isn't just, you know, a tick a box exercise. I'm only a law student, Bridget is the lawyer out of the two of us,

so she could probably give you a more in-depth answer on it. I think, you know, like in the past, we've had bodies like ATSIC

that haven't been listened to and have very much been passed around as a political football.

You know, when governments change. And I think having the voice in the Constitution

not only gives us the stability we need to ensure that there will be a voice there that we can use

to talk to government, but, you know, having a having the specific details of the voice

legislated as well is important because, you know, if we come to find that we've legislated a design for a voice

that isn't working or that the government just isn't listening, listening to, we can go back and be like, hey, this isn't working.

Let's change this in a way that works for our people. So when Bridget jumps on, she can probably give you a more in-depth answer.

But I do think having a voice is important for treaty and truth processes as it's going to give us, you know,

a base to ensure that when we're negotiating treaties or when we're looking at truth processes,

that it will be effective because First Nations peoples will be the ones influencing these processes and influencing the direction

in which they're taking. Thanks so much. And we might when Bridget does join us, we we may ask this question again

and Bridget and the whole team are on, you know, different roadshows and obviously booked up.

So she's a bit delayed at the moment. But we do believe that she'll be joining us shortly.

We have another question coming. This is a fantastic question, something I'm really interested in and potentially some of our viewers might be as well.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the demographics in each state and who are the main voters in Australia at the moment?

Yeah, I mean, obviously I'm not too technically involved.

I don't know what the technical details of demographics and stuff, but it is a really important consideration,

I think our role, you know, I can talk on a national level and it's that non-Indigenous people make up 97% of the population

and Indigenous people only, we only make up like 3%. So at the end of the day, 97% of the people vote like of people

that are voting will be non-Indigenous and it's really important that non-Indigenous people walk with us in this in relation

to specific demographics such as youth or whatever. I couldn't give you a really specific picture

that I'd like for, you know, my words behinds. Um, I'm not sure how much research has been done on it, but um,

you know, I'd imagine that young people, we make up a significant portion of the people that are voting

and I'm really not sure. Sorry, I think that's a question

Bridget might have more answers when she joins but our focus is really on education.

We haven't, at least from my standpoint, I haven't looked into the specific demographics like across like

communities and youth and gender balances. No worries.

Thank you for answering and answering that to the best of your ability. And maybe that's something that we can provide to our members

with following this session is potentially a breakdown of what is required. I do know that the main general Australian population is in accordance to what's on

the ABS seats between about 24 to 35 and which makes me a bit, you know,

hopeful considering in New South Wales particularly, we did have the implementation of Aboriginal studies

and content into the New South Wales syllabus in the nineties, early nineties. So potentially people in this room have engaged in some way,

whether it be through retroactive one, that beautiful textbook with Braveheart on the front there, which was written about us not by us,

but in some way you would have still had some access to knowledge. So that does give me a bit of confidence moving forward.

We have another question coming through. Another great one. Some First Nations leaders are opposed to the referendum as they feel it is inappropriate

for non-Indigenous people to have a say and to make a decision about something that doesn't directly affect them and their families.

What would you say to the First Nations peoples opposed to this voice

Yeah, for sure. I mean First Nations people, we're not a homogenous group, we're not all going to agree on something or think the same.

There was 83, there is 83% of support in the First Nations community for this.

And obviously the process leading up to the statement was First Nations informed and led I think that

I agree with the delegates in what they said, which I mentioned before, is that, you know, we only make up 3% of the population

and we really need the other 97% to walk with us and give us the ability.

So First Nations people can have a say on the laws and policies and issues that directly impact us.

Um, I think at the end of the day calling for a referendum to enshrine the voice,

we all knew that it wouldn't be First Nations people, that it will make or break this referendum, but it's really specific and that, you know,

this is a chance for non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australia to come together

and give First Nations people the ability to speak on our issues and elect the people we want to represent us

instead of, you know, just hand-picked individuals or non-Indigenous people talking on Indigenous issues.

So I definitely get that concerns and you know, it's not my place to go to try to convince, you know, like an elder or someone else

to change their opinion because everyone's more than valid in their opinion. But I do think, you know, at the end of the day it is important

that non-Indigenous Australia join us on this journey and walk with us to give us a say.

And it's really important to make sure your vote is your vote and it's your opinion and your decision

and not those of other people around you potentially that haven't lived the same journey that you have.

So thank you for that. We've got a question about the ad which how fantastic was that ad I saw.

I looked around and I could see that everyone was getting quite emotional about the opportunity and possibilities

and what that could look like for the future of Australia. So the ad shown was so impactful

more than the ones that are being aired at present. Will it be aired on commercial television as it seems that SBS is targeting

those who are on board already, that ad always makes me emotional.

The first time I watched it I cried. But um, yeah, I do think it's a really impactful ad

and at the end like showing ads on TV and stuff comes down to funding.

So like we're trying to push the ad out there. I think the ads you're referring to on SBS are from Yes 23 possibly...

and they're doing incredible work. But you know, fingers crossed we get the ability to push this

ad further than just YouTube and social media. But I think that's a stay tuned question to see what goes on.

Excellent. Thank you. And I'm sure you can access that ad online. Can we, Brydie, too, because our lecture is my wish to share this in there.

Moodle sites potentially. And yeah, this is we'll definitely get it

on YouTube. You can also find us on our socials. Excellent. We will add that

to the National Reconciliation Week page that we have at you UOW here.

We have a fantastic question. This is something that I'm sure we're all thinking about in the room.

Is there one main myth about what the voice is or is not that we can assist in squashing?

Fantastic question. Yeah, I think there are a lot of myths or misinformation that's out there.

I wouldn't I wouldn't through throwing my money behind one specific one as being the main one.

But I think an important thing that we haven't touched on yet is that argument that the voice will ceede our sovereignty

which I've been seeing a lot in the media and stuff. I think at the end of the day, sovereignty

obviously is a really important consideration with this. And we maintain that, you know, having a voice and acknowledging

First Nations people in the Constitution will not ceede our sovereignty. The Uluru statement if you read the Uluru statement, which I encourage everyone to do, you

know, it specifies that our sovereignty has never been sated or extinguished. And you know, having a voice

is not going to change that. Um, but yeah, I guess that's the main,

the main myth I'd encourage people to dispel. But again, it's up to everyone to, you know, like do your own research

and come up with an answer that you think is appropriate to the question, no matter what myths or misinformation it is.

Thanks so much thanks so much. And we all understand how busy everybody is in their everyday lives. So, you know,

someone mentioned to me one time that you can't make time, so we need to take time need to take time in our everyday lives

to to have a research and make sure that we were on board. And we're looking at the right resources.

One important thing is a history teacher read the label before buying into it. Who wrote it?

What's their agenda? Where are they from? You know, have have a look, you know, just make sure you're reading the label before you're buying into anything that you are believing.

We have another question, lots of questions. How fantastic. And we're excited. Keep sending them through.

I've heard politicians stating that the voice will actually divide Australia based on race or argue about special treatment.

How can we effectively push back against these narratives?

Yes, for sure. That definitely is a talking point, especially with the No campaign at the moment.

I think it's really important to remember that our Constitution at the moment allows government to make special laws in relation on the basis of race.

So it's not like there's not already that distinction. I think I'd also say to that that,

you know, at the end of the day, the voice is an advisory body and who better to talk on First Nations issues than us?

Like if there was an issue regarding youth, you talk to young people about it, or

if there was an issue regarding nurses, you'd talk to nurses about it. So I don't think it divides us along the lines of race.

I think this country has a very rich heritage owned by history, rather, and both indigenous and non-indigenous culture.

And at the end of the day, this isn't about dividing us, it's about Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia.

Coming together. So that would be my argument for that. But again, it's up to everyone to formulate their own.

This one's on that thank you so much. Thank you.

It's a great time to be in now, I think the change we're ready for the ready for the change and we'd just like to

welcome Bridget, who's joined us online, I believe, as well. Bridget, we're just running through our Q&A.

And Bridget is the co-chair of Youth Dialog, so Bridget, if you want to just jump in whenever.

And we've got our next question coming along now and the questions are flying through. I'm excited about it.

Awesome. Excellent. Thanks for joining us. So we've got our next question.

I know that there have been consultations across Australia to establish the voice, but one argument against the voice

is that a limited number of members will be on it when there are so many diverse First Nation communities across Australia,

how might I respond to this concern? Great question.

I think I'll check that question to Bridget if she wants to answer it. Is her chance to speak.

OK, great. I can't see you either. Sorry. Let me see

you see me? No, no notice. Yes. Yes, we can. Hello. Hello.

Sorry, I can't see everyone. Okay, I can see you Thanks for having me. So, in terms of the detail around how around

how many representatives there will be, we know that one of the key design principles of the voice

says that the voice structure has to be representative of our communities.

At the moment, there's a lot of talk around regional voices feeding up to the national voice.

What was discussed at the regional dialogs was that the voice had to be representative of our communities.

But essentially what will happen following a successful referendum is that the government have committed to a consultation process

right across the country with First Nations communities to inform what that structure will look like.

So it's really important that we don't take a particular model into the referendum because that will work that model in,

and we need the flexibility for it to change over time to make sure that it's

being effective and is what First Nations people have made of the mechanism to have a say on the issues that affect us.

So it is a criticism that is out there, but we don't have that level of detail

about the exact numbers. You might be thinking about the CALMA Langton report,

which was the co-design process for a non-constitutional voice.

That was for a legislative voice. And it was also in its terms of reference for that consultation

that it wasn't to consider a constitutionally enshrined voice. So I think there's different things that we need to consider

when it comes to developing the model post a successful referendum.

But ultimately, it's really important that mob right across the nation get to inform what the model looks like, that we shouldn't take a proposed model

that's already been worked on into this referendum. And that it shouldn't be once it's set up in legislation after the referendum.

A model that already exists today, it has to be informed by First Nations peoples, and that will come through that consultation process.

Lovely. Thank you very much for that. Well-articulated answer, we have a fantastic question here

from one of our local from an organization. So again, shout out to everyone online,

zooming in or dialing in from all over Australia. And I think we do have some international guests here online

with us today, so welcome and thank you for joining us. Advice to organizations who want

who want to make an official statement in support of the Yes campaign but their First Nations employees have been quiet when consulted.

I think for this one, what we focused on at the Uluru dialog is making sure that people are informed.

So the first step and Brydie has done a lot of this work as well with various organizations and schools,

is having an opportunity for staff

to hear about what the factual information is. Hear about the journey to the Uluru statement, the many decades

worth of advocacy and work that's led up to this point

and then moving towards an official endorsement because I think in the work that we do,

there's a lot of misunderstanding out there in the community. People don't necessarily want to speak out because they feel

they don't know enough about it or because this issue has been politicized

by different parties and communities as well. So there's many things that we have to be considerate of,

but at the end of the day, information and factual information is going to be key in Australians making an informed decision when it comes

time to vote in the referendum and also as an organization, I would say that it does require the 97%

of non-Indigenous people to walk with us and to

be able to have access to the factual information. So from an organization point of view, we need those endorsements

to continue the momentum moving forward towards a successful referendum and please don't shy away from that.

But whilst also doing that and making sure that staff, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous have the opportunity

to hear the factual information and ask questions in a safe environment, and then going forward towards an endorsement.

Excellent. Thank you for that and thank you for creating that safe environment that you've discussed just now here at UOW

for us to engage in this conversation that we're having today, one that's very needed, particularly

during this time during national Reconciliation Week. But for us to, you know, have these opportunities that UOW for our staff, students and community.

So thank you for that and good luck to those organisations, UOW is here to help if you need us.

And thank you for thinking of your sphere of influence and the impact that you might have in the spaces that you have reach in.

We have another couple of questions coming through. So as a non-Indigenous person, how can how can I be the best ally

to my non-Indigenous friends, given that there are different views on the voice from different Indigenous groups?

Well, I think, oh yeah, I don't want to overstep and this one is also thanking Brydie for the discussion, for your discussion today.

So what a great question. How can yeah, how can our allies support us without feeling that they don't overstep.

Thanks for thanking me., but I think again, I'd echo what Bridget said

for the previous question on that. It's important to get informed and to

understand and respect everyone's opinions on this, especially the views of indigenous people like again, we're not a homogenous group

and we're all going to think the same, but it's important that everyone understands the factual information and can make that decision for themselves.

So I think you know, I don't know what Bridget would say on this, but I think being the best ally is, you know, just respecting everyone's opinions

and the diversity of our opinions as indigenous people and, you know, creating that safe space

for your indigenous friends to talk to this, but also not like I've had a few people come up to me and their one

conversation wants to be what I'm voting on or my stance on it. And I think it's just about

like respecting indigenous people and our time and our opinions with this.

But I don't know what Bridget would say. Yeah, I think that's all exactly what I would say.

Maybe just in addition to that, is understanding where this mandate comes from. It's not government led this call for a voice

is from the First Nations delegates to the regional dialog process. So there's a lot of strength in that mandate.

Again, at the regional dialogs at the Constitutional Convention, not all First Nations peoples agreed to this.

There was approximately seven people. They actually walked out of the constitutional convention out of 250.

We don't think the same. We don't all have to think the same.

And that's so important that our non-Indigenous Australians understand that and respect that as Brydie said.

But at the end of the day, if you've got the right to vote you have the power to shape this nation

and what this nation will look like following a referendum. So you do have that responsibility to take a position on this.

And my number one rule always is that whatever space I'm engaging in, it has to be based on respect

so if people give me respect, I give them respect and we can have differing views and we can have a respectful conversation.

What I don't engage in is where there's no respect and that's just not worth engaging.

And so for me to be a good ally is understanding all of those things.

And then also feeling a sense of responsibility. And if you are having conversations

around or with your First Nations peers, friends family, etc.,

just be mindful of those things because you're going to have a say on this at the end of the day.

And we don't all have to agree all of the time. Thank you. What a fantastic right way to round up this this session.

I just want to thank you both again for taking the time to be with us here at UOW, we're so glad we were able to offer you this alternative opportunity in

Jeff's absence. So thank you so much. Again, and we welcome you to the rest of our National Reconciliation

Week celebrations. Thanks so much.

2023 National Reconciliation Week at UOW - Session 3

In this discussion you will hear from the voices of Aboriginal staff members at UOW and respected members of our Community. The panel will provide insight and examples of how the Constitutional reform will advance all aspects of reconciliation.You will learn why it is important for us to work as a collective community to drive committed action towards a Voice to Parliament.

I've got a story to tell you. It's a good one. It's about how these people, the first people got a voice.

60,000 years they've been speaking. Had 363 languages,

but no voice, no say in matters which affected them. It wasn't right.

So me and your granddad, me and your mum, the whole nation did something about it.

People call their friends and families. People talk about it on the streets. Talk about it at work on the field.

Everybody made a song and dance about it. Everyone walked side by side.

And that's how we changed this country for the better. How we made history.

Is that story true? It could be.

My name is Tammy. I'm the manager projects Indigenous Advancement at the Indigenous Strategy Unit. Thank you for joining us again today for our third panel session

for National Reconciliation Week. And what a great week it has been and what fantastic discussions that we've had.

I'd also like to acknowledge everybody, all our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members in the audience as well.

And thank you for coming and I'll pass over to Nadia who is going to support with our welcome today.

Thank you. So yolanda and nagambie

I'd like to welcome you all here today to this very, very important panel discussion and acknowledge

that we're on the lands of the Wadi Wadi people, which are my people. I'd like to acknowledge all our ancestors who have been so resilient and fought

all these fights so that we can have this platform here today. And be able to share our voices.

Welcome to everyone who's on line. Whatever countries that you're coming from and watching this from, if you're unaware of what country you and I going to leave you some framework

to go and google that is a great source. You can just quickly go through the traditional custodians of the land that I'm on.

So that's home for you. I'm going to be giving homework throughout this discussion, throughout this.

And finally, I'd just like to thank all the mob here today and all the ancestors

and countries that you've come from and all your allies here today. Thank you for coming and listening to our voices.

Thank you so much. We're very lucky to have you on the panel here today, and we're very lucky to be joined by all our members.

So as you can see, this is our all indigenous panel here today where we'll be discussing the upcoming

referendum and voice to parliament will be. We're talking about a whole great deal of issues that we're coming across as well.

And we'll be welcoming any questions you may have from the audience. Please use our slido hashtag UOW to ask any questions

you may have, particularly in our online audience as well. We know we have a large online audience at the moment.

So again, thank you so much for joining us on this panel. So I've introduced myself briefly.

I work in indigenous strategy here at UOW, but I'd like to pass on and I'll start with Tina Can you just tell us who you are away from

community and that of a woman born and raised in the beautiful country. And I, too, would like to pay my respects to the traditional custodians

and the lands that everyone coming in from today.

I' Nadia, I'm a public health lecturer here at the University of Wollongong. And also do a little bit of high school work in the local community.

Good afternoon. My name is Adam Gowen. I'm a Wirajuri man cultural connections to Yuin country, I live on Yuin country.

Have a privilege to be here with you all today. I work in higher education also and yeah, looking forward to our discussion today.

Excellent. Thank you so much. Thanks so much. And again, just if you have any questions, be sure to shoot them through on our sliod, to kick off with our panel discussion today.

And we're going to start off with you, Nadia. So given your experience and you mentioned briefly in public health research and education,

what do you think are the benefits of reforming the Constitution for Aboriginal and Torres people and for all Australians?

I think it's also important to acknowledge how we've got here. This isn't just something that's happened this year.

It's been a very, very long journey. Uluru Statements from the Heart was finalised in 2017 and we're

now in 2023, we had the apology back in 2000, the 67 referendum.

It's been, it's been a long fight, it's been a long journey and I think for us

it's a very positive opportunity that we have. We haven't had an opportunity like this for quite some time

and I know that there's some discussions about the fact that we don't have a voice,

we do have a voice, but we now have a chance to have that heard at this level. So having this constitutional change will give us First Nations

people an opportunity to be represented by our own people we've been spoken for, we've been researched,

we've been over published, we've had many, many people speak on behalf of us, which is not the point.

There's this old saying that you need to be a voice for the voiceless which is completely incorrect. We don't need to be a voice

for the voiceless, we just need to provide the platforms for such people. And I believe that that's what this constitutional

and referendum is finally giving us that opportunity. Thank you. Thank you so much.

We will extend that question on to Adam, but if you could draw on your experience on the boards that you're director of,

particularly in regional education, social justice, homelessness, and your work in the Fire Service.

So what do you you know, given all your experience in those areas, what do you think the benefits might be if we're successful?

Yeah, thanks, Tammy. It's yeah, a real privilege to be able to share perspective here today. And we're talking as a as a panel before, and I really wanted to just start

also by saying that we represent our individual perspectives and point of views and we don't speak for everyone.

And we recognize and appreciate that there's a diversity of views in these discussions, in these debates, and we make room for all those different

discussions to happen in that space in a respectful way. So I think a lot of the discussion goes to

about mitigating the negative impacts that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced

due to the processes of colonisation, and that is really important. But what I'm actually really excited about as well alongside

that is the ability for us to make positive impacts for all of Australia, for our wider Australian communities to be able to feed in ideas

and innovations that come from our cultural perspective that actually will benefit us as a as a whole nation.

So I think there's a lot there in all those different spaces, in all the different spaces that I walk, all the different places that I have that that ability to feed into.

I notice that I can make a significant impact using my own cultural lens, but I think this is about making that larger

and more applicable across a wider section of being a whole nation. So I think that this yes, this is about mitigating the negative impacts,

but it's also about bringing the positives of our innovation and cultural lens that we have as well.

Yeah. Thank you. Fantastic. And you know, you're right. We are the most written about people in the world, not by the voices of ourselves.

So to be able to have a platform to provide that, you know, and as Aboriginal people, we've been shaped and categorised,

it's time for us to jump out of that box and say, hey, it's 21st century, this is who we are now and this is what it means

to be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander today. Thank you for that. Tina, I'm going to ask you a question.

Chuck, over to you and you know, I would love you to draw on your wealth of knowledge and experience in employment, welfare and the community service sector.

And if you could have you on to us about how you think the constitutional reform will impact the local community.

And again, I think drawing on what Adam said from my experience or from my speaking as I'll be speaking from my lived experience

and professional experience, but I think in terms of child protection, we all have, I'm sure have heard about the Stolen Generations

as one part of colonisation and the impacts of that. And one of the things that today child protection never meets the threshold

for being able to or it's too high a threshold to be able to have these community level discussions.

And I'm hopeful that by, you know, having a voice, we will be able to both at a local, regional and state level and national level,

be able to address, you know, child protection matters. I mean, if we think back you know the 1977

Bring Them Home report stated that there was 20% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care in 1997.

I think that had rise to something like 35% and we're now somewhere between 43 and 53% depending on what area we're coming from.

So, you know, it's that old saying if we keep doing the same things that we've always done, we're going at the same results. So if we really want to make change we need to have our people at the table

being able to look at, you know, what, what life is like for them, what's happening for them and what are the best ways forward.

And they're going to look different in every community and we need to respect that. Fantastic.

Thank you so much for answering that question for us here. I've got a question for everyone now, and I'll I'll ask you first, Nadia.

So as parents and grandparents, some of us have grandparents on here. Why is the voice to parliament important to you

and our future generations? Good question... I didn't know that would tear anyone up was like, do I put this on at the end?

Well, it's very telling, my son's in the room today. So as as a parent, this is incredibly important

because not only is it going to normalize our people at this level, I teach it in my lectures and classrooms,

representation matters, if our young people are seeing our people represented at that level, and maybe that's something that they can aspire to,

maybe they can grow up and become advocates for our communities. At the moment, we don't we don't really have that yet.

We've got a few First Nations peoples in our parties, not at that top, top level, not speaking for us.

And as we've all said, it's it's really important that we are the ones who are representing our people, even though we do

all come from different countries and different experiences. We've not had that representation yet, and if that's something that we can get

and my son can grow up knowing that that's something he might be able to aspire to or his friends can potentially step into that role

as a career or potential opportunity pathway that he wants to do, then that's something that our ancestors fought for.

They didn't fight all those years for us to just give up and to not be a voice for our own people.

I know that they're looking down on us right now and absolutely rooting for us and rooting for this referendum.

I completely agree. The fact that we're all up here today, particularly some of us women as well,

having that voice and I love your ideology of "You can't be what you can't see". Just fantastic.

Adam, what about you? Yeah, I think it's really important. I was able to have a really great discussion with my dad just really recently and talk to him

about his experience of racism and segregation and separation in this in a school context and thinking about for him.

He said, I never want my grandkids to experience that same thing that I had to go through.

And I think that's the thing that we get to do in this opportunity. It's about having an opportunity to clearly identify

and address some of the structural nature of the racism that exists and continues to exist in the spaces that we exist.

So I think that for our kids, we get to actually have that opportunity where that can start

to be addressed at that level, which is really important part of it. Yeah. And if you have kids, you know that our kids are really starting

to become really well educated in particularly in New South Wales. And we need to you need to keep up some of us as parents

and make sure that we, you know, we take the time to find out more and have meaningful and engaging conversations with our children at the dinner table.

Tina as a parent and grandparent, grandparent and grandparent. Yeah, a parent of three adult children and five grandchildren from one to nine.

And I think for me, you know, drawing back on that, you know, I don't know if people are aware, but 1972,

Principals handbook here in New South Wales, which covered ACT you know, Principal had the right to say an Aboriginal person couldn't

attend school at their own discretion. And so when we think about that, that's not that long ago

and we think about our own upbringing and, even, you know for those that you know, have

may feel that they've lived a pretty good life, but, the history talks for itself and I think the statistics are going up,

but I think when I think about that question, for me it really is quite deeply, I think for every single one of us.

And Adam, you drew on this, that, you know, this isn't just about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it's about all Australians.

And I think when when I think about that, I think for me that it really is about, you know,

having a brighter future for our children and our grandchildren. But I think for everyone, I mean, what is our why what's our purpose in life?

Like why are we all here? And I think for many of us that have got children or grandchildren in some way, it's about what legacy we're going to leave behind.

And quite often the people that we're thinking about are, our families, our friends

and most importantly, our children and the loved ones that we leave behind. So for me and and I think drawing on that, as Nadia had talked about, as well,

you know, we wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for those that have gone before us. And I feel quite privileged to have been raised here on this country

and be you know, have the privilege to work in our community here.

And and I think those teachings and those learnings being passed down are really important for us all to learn, learn from.

And will ensure that we remain the oldest living culture or one of the oldest living cultures in the world.

Which is quite important for us to do. So thank you for answering those questions. I know that that one could have been quite difficult

when you get asked about your children and what you see the future like for them. So I want you to now in the audience reflect on how

you can be a voice for generations. So our question, we'll go to Adam

so as you're aware and we're all aware in this room, some of our people have been experiencing some backlash in the media

and community, in cafes, some of my mentors and some of the strongest people and women

I know have been confronted, particularly with some some difficult conversations

but while they're out in a public place and the response that they would generally take wasn't the same.

So I'd I'd like to have a yarn about just that today and just, you know, we're aware that there are some backlashes and and some of our people

experiencing this tweet. Do you have any words of advice for some of our people who are out there holding space?

Yeah, it's it can be really difficult and it's a difficult thing to engage in, but it's really important that we do it

really well and really well means that we we're taking care of ourselves, that we're really slowing down stopping weight,

that we're actually setting the the tone and the the agenda of the discussions

that we're engaging in and that we do that really intentionally. And to do that in a way that is,

preserves our self, preserves our sense of safety and security. And so and checking in on each other, too.

So I really, you know, that's something I really want to bring to to this forum, too, is make sure you're checking in with each other,

check in with with other people that that are holding that space as well, because chances are they're having similar experiences to you and

we're better if we can share those things and actually work through them together. There's so

many amazingly strong people that have really been stumped by this. I think it's really interesting to see see that.

And so I think for us, there's something there about having the appropriate boundaries, if you just confront

it straight away with the question about yes or no, just go, can we can we make space there to have a deeper conversation that's actually

more relevant than rather than putting in a dichotomy. But let's have a conversation about understanding what this space is

that we're engaging in and doing that in a really considered way, that makes sure

that we have we retain our sense of safety and say, yeah, yeah,

Tina, some some people may act different or their response might be different. Did you want to to maybe want to yarn to us about that?

I think yeah. I think I was reflecting on that I suppose particularly in the space that I've worked in in terms of trauma trauma that quite often that can be,

you know, a trauma response, even when we think that we've dealt with things I reflect on myself, mum worked at DC J for 30 years.

I thought I had all my life together and so everything was wonderful. But sometimes when you get asked a question

and it might not be in a, in a safety circle it may not be with people that we all, you know,

can have an experience where we've had a negative experience in the past. And then if we,

it's like if you have a car accident, it's probably going to be a bit rocky when you're going back, back to that same place.

so for me it is about thinking about that trauma response and, and not being too hard on ourself,

but putting in place the strategies that Adam talked about. But simply, if we're not up for answering that question, today's not a good day.

Yeah. You know, there's no obligation that we have that, if we're talking about sitting and really having a voice, it's a two way dialog.

It's a two way relationship for most people. You're not going to share your most intimate details with a stranger,

but for many of our people, it's almost the expectation at times, you know, that we're supposed to share what life's like and how that feels.

And so, you know, for me, I think, you know, those boundaries are really, really important. And I know I certainly will pick and choose where

I feel that I'm strong enough to I don't ask anybody anything, and I'm happy to have a conversation if it's in a respectful, meaningful way.

But if the person that's coming at me isn't sharing their views or their approach in that way,

then I don't feel that I need to follow on further with that discussion. Fantastic. Yes.

And just be mindful of we all have different lived experiences and where, you know, be mindful of that

when you're asking questions, you might have. So Nadia we've we get these question we've had this question

quite a lot come through, actually, and it's about our non-indigenous allies. And I thought I would put it in here to get an indigenous

specific answer or some, some indigenous specific answers. And do you have any words of advice or anything

you would like to say to our non-Indigenous allies who are wanting to stand by our side in solidarity?

Yep, yeah, of course. And it kind of flows on from what we've been talking about in the previous question. So

change is hard and what we're proposing with this referendum is a change and change.

then requires us to grow. So this is going to be an opportunity for us as a nation to grow

and to move forward. And unfortunately as human beings

we tend to fear what we don't understand or what we don't know. And for most of us in the room here today, you're engaging in these conversations.

you might be reading the literature you might have colleagues who are first nations are you're involved in these discussions.

But unfortunately for a lot of Australia, they're not. And there's not this education surrounding what a referendum is.

What does it mean about constitution? And so there's a lot of miseducation which can happen in

just our general communities in everywhere, our workplaces, our schools. And so I think as allies,

I know that this week is all about being a voice and allowing Aboriginal people to be a voice for ourselves, a voice for a generation.

So not always you're not going to have the opportunity to always have I guess,

you know, "1 800 dial an Aborigine" to get them in to have their voice. So as allies

I think it's up to the rest of the 97% of the population to start educating people as well, to start saying, well,

this is what the constitution means, this is what representation means. I can't speak on what it means for Aboriginal people, however,

you could be dispelling mistruths, you can be shutting down the racism. So as we said, this is, this is all about institutionalised racism.

But with the question before, there's a lot of racism happening within our communities, within the media, and it's both overt and covert racism.

So as allies you could be helping there, you could be stopping that, taking a stand, clarifying what this actually means,

which is going to help us as First Nations peoples we've still got a bit of a journey to go before the referendum actually happens.

And so as both Adam and Tina said, for the First Nations peoples, just check in on yourself. It is going to be quite tiresome.

We're going to have a little bit of explanation, exhaustion as Aboriginal people and so as allies, this is where you can step in as well,

making sure that you're not saying that this is your experience because you're an Aboriginal person, but just helping, helping

in that process of educating the rest of the nation of what this means. I love it. I love it.

Moving beyond that, when in doubt, leave it out right and taking the time to educate ourselves and then using our voice.

So, you know, how are we going to use our voice in this room? And you will have that power of your voice.

You can choose to do nothing, you can choose to use it. Thank you so much.

For that, Nadia. So Tina as a business owner and operator, what impact, if any,

do you think the constitutional reform could have on business owners? Yeah, look the indigenous business economy is growing at a rapid rate.

And I think that whilst it's an amazing opportunity, I think going back to, you know, we can't be what we can't see, I just know

in the eight years that I've been in business, the change in my own children and my grandchildren to what that now looks like and whether or not they're not looking necessarily at a certain job or,

you know, they're actually saying, when I grow up, I'm going to do this, you know, in my own business. But I think in terms of what can constitutional recognition bring in

I think what, we know there's been a lot of publicity around black cladding

and indigenous businesses that my appear as either indigenous business.

But I think being able to have that local, regional, state and national level where people are at the table we will be able to identify

who are our Aboriginal business services, provide support to them to help them look at how they too can access some of this information.

Because in some cases we're talking about tiny little macro micro businesses that don't have, you know, all the fancy equipment

or all the flash you know, insurances and things like that. But many of our businesses can come together to support one another.

So I think, you know that by having a voice, we can really look at what is happening

in terms of the indigenous procurement policies at all different levels. You know, how they don't want to bang on about what's happening,

you know, in the consulting world, for example, at the moment. But, you know, looking at how how are these

businesses selected? How do they identify as an Aboriginal business and being able to bring our businesses together?

There's enough business out there for everybody and I think being able to showcase, I mean what a wonderful opportunity.

We all live in a country that has the oldest living culture in the world.

Like regardless of what cultural background you come from, how can that not be an amazing feeling to think that,

you know, we walk on this country here that for, you know, 75,000 plus now we have many years that we keep finding more

information, you know, of people that were here before us. So I think being able to...

we know that five burning practices we know that the recent floods you know being able to

introduce, you know, traditional ways into contemporary society I think is better for all Australians regardless of what happens.

Thank you so much. Thanks. So I've got another question I'll, I'll ask to everyone

and we'll start off with with you, Adam. So some of this what are some of the myths

that are currently circulating that might need to be debunked? And, you know, you can talk, talk with us

you know specific reference to 1967 referendum and you know we're all aware of some of those misconceptions that have followed for 50 years.

through these this period of time. So. Well I think some of the myths that there's, there's quite a few.

I think some one of them is that it'll be a third chamber of parliament that the voice if it gets up will be

that third chamber and will have a veto power and all this, that that's just simply not true. But there's a lot of misinformation out there that that is going to be the case.

There's are other myths about how it will be formed, it really

I think there's some great information out there produced by the First Nations Referendum Working Group, which is a group of about 15 or 20 eminent Aboriginal

Australian people who are working on the design principles for the voice. And so I'd encourage people

to really look those design principles up and have a look at that. It's really only probably a page or two,

an information sheet, but I think that addresses a lot of those. The other thing is that, you know, that it will just clog up the parliamentary process

and that'll make any passage of any law take, you know, an inordinate amount of time, which is, yeah, that's not true as well.

Lovely. Thank you for that. Nadia. Tina, did you want to add anything to, to this answer?

Nadia Yeah, there is. There's a, there's a No campaign that's going on at the moment and a lot of,

I guess, promotion surrounding why we should vote no. And similar to what Adam was saying, there's a few

myths that this elected person that would be our voice

will be making decisions on behalf of non-Aboriginal people, which is which is not true. This representation, this representative, will be a voice for our people

and will help guide policies for our people and our communities. I think again, it comes back to what I was saying.

You fear what you don't understand. It's that misconception and not having a proper understanding

of what this would mean. And as I tell many people

the documents online, you can go read the report, you can read a quick snapshot of it was the report is a couple of hundred pages,

a long one but there's snapshots, but educate yourself before you go and promote something on social media.

Yeah. I think for me I was just I was reflecting on I got asked a question

the other day, you know, by someone that no ill intent, but just thinking or what they'd been told was that a voice to Parliament

would mean that the government would not be able to make any decisions relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people without it going to the

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Commission and not first for approval. And I and I stopped and I said, don't hang on, are you talking about axing

the Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Commission? He said, Yeah, yeah, yeah. And he was a teacher, so yeah, yeah, yeah.

And I said all they actually were folded or abolished in 2004 in last operation, 2005.

We're certainly not going to be going to ATSIC's. So I totally agree with, with our panel all look, you know, and you know I'm a,

I'm a bit older than the other panel members so in my time, you know, ATSIC wasn't a bad thing for me, it wasn't a bad experience for me.

So it was a good good thing and it gave us a voice. And I think you know that like Nadia and Adam have said it's important to do your homework,

have a look, find out there's videos, there's lots of reports, have a look, read it.

Find out for yourself to make an informed decision. The other thing from an Aboriginal community perspective

that I just thought of is sometimes I think people are thinking that it's going to replace the organizations

that are already established and doing good work and that's one of the design principles that it's work alongside

those existing organizations and existing structures. And so that's a really important piece of the puzzle as well.

It's not a whole big, you know, replacement of those things that are working well for our community already, but it's actually something

that will strengthen those things in that space as well. Excellent. Yes, and some of the questions we're getting and in so many different levels and

varieties. My mum was having a discussion with me, my Scottish mum yesterday and she was saying, but you're already like all that I'd say to be acknowledging the Constitution,

you're already in there. I was like, yeah, mum, but it's, it's a change to the Constitution. So she was quite confused about what, what it actually meant.

So I didn't realize at that time that I needed to use my voice in my family and then help my mum as a non-Indigenous woman.

Use her sphere of influence in her work to reach out to our community. So it was a nice conversation, but it was also it made me realise that

I actually, I'm not doing as much as I can as an Indigenous person to use my voice. So thank you for sharing that with us today.

So we've got a few more questions now. I'll just ask a couple more.

So if there was and this is a question for everyone in the panel, if

we have a non-Indigenous member in the room online that's on the fence, that they're not quite sure

how they're wanting to vote, what would be one thing that you might say to that or to encourage this person

or discuss with this person, Adam, did you want to lead off to? So yes, sure.

So I think for me, obviously it's really personal. For us, it's really personal for us

as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that and so I would just basically share my story and share while I'm voting yes,

that that is something that, you know, I think it's going to make a significant difference for for my family and for our nation.

You know, we talked about that before. It's not about only addressing those negative impacts, but it's about extending

the positive impacts and positive innovations that we have as as Aboriginal people to be able to share that with our nation more broadly.

I think there's another argument going back to that last question to that sometimes that argument has put that it will re racialise our nation

I think that there could be nothing further from the truth. I think this is a wonderful way to actually integrate

our understandings of what sovereignty is and have that big talk about sovereignty, about that, that huge concept without ceding our sovereignty,

being able to integrate the sovereignty that we know and experience as Aboriginal people into the mainstream, into the

the nation state through this constitutional document. So that for me is a whole bunch of reasons.

But I think for me sharing those would be the way that I'd approach that.

Yeah, Nadia? Some of the conversations that I've had, which could for the fence sitters

as well as it goes back to I know there's a lot of confusion of information that's been pumped throughout the media,

like I said, with the no campaign as well was actually one of my students who showed me when I went through some of the things that she's been seeing

on her social media, and she asked me what I've had or what I do here but I don't know, I'm not an Aboriginal person, can I say something?

What would you say? And a lot of the statements were about

from the No campaign, it's about that we don't need a voice to Parliament, we just need to be heard.

and I flip that and I was like, absolutely, we do need to be heard.

And the way we do that is by getting ourselves on a platform where we can be heard. Currently, we don't have that platform, we don't have that representation

but we do have voices and if we don't get this platform, then we're just going to be continuously yelling into the wind.

And we've been doing that for far too long. But if you ask someone who's not sure

on how to vote, as Adam said, ask

get some stories. I'd love to just say vote yes, but I can't tell you what to do

and wearing the shirt, it's completely up to you, that's the society we live in.

That's why we're going to referendum, think about the fact that it's it's not about you.

It's not going to affect you, it's about us as First Nations peoples. So where will you sit in history?

What, what side will you be on? Essentially, like the video that we had at the beginning

where uncle was just like, yes, this could be true. This could be our story. And I would love for it to be our story.

It's so powerful. Tina, do you have anything to add or look to? Anything I'd probably really add is that, if we're having a genuine discussion

or we're genuinely wanting to hear from someone or we're going to ask those questions, I come from a place would harm you, that inquisitive inquiry,

quite often we talk about that. Sometimes it can seem as though either party is becoming offensive or aggressive

and maybe it's this trauma response and and that's for everyone. But if if we can't have big conversations as adults,

what does that show our future generations? this is all about sitting at times with that silence or uncomfortableness to move through

and if we think about healing through anything, if any of us have been through anything, we have to go through that period.

So it's difficult for everybody. And I think just being open to that

being kind in in the way that we asked our question and hearing that response, even

even if it isn't what we agree with because like Nadia and Adam said, like, if you're a non-Aboriginal person, it's not that lived experience for you.

So and all of us are going to have a different experience. And so probably the one thing I would say is that I certainly wouldn't be listening

to an Aboriginal person that said they speak on behalf of all Aboriginal people

we don't. So that's the thing, right? Everybody has their own lived experience.

So yeah. Thank you, we will encourage you all to submit some questions through slido,

We do have a few more questions, but some excellent questions are coming through on Slider that I wanted to address.

Not saying they're better than my questions by any means, but they're really, really good, particularly this one

and as I mentioned yesterday, I'm a former history teacher, so you know, it was really important for me to teach the true history of Australia

to my my students. So this one really hits home for me, particularly because I know the plight and fight for social and political justice.

And as Nadia mentioned, the path has been paved for us, but we're just tidying it up and cleaning it up and making sure it's bright,

and we're bringing you alongside now to work with us on that path. So after repeated and ongoing promises being broken by governments

to communities, why do you think Aboriginal communities continue to want to work with them?

Did you want to start this one off? And the first way that comes to mind is resilience shot.

It's a bittersweet because part of me is sad that our past generations have had to go through what they've gone

through for us to be able to have what we have today. But in terms of that in the future, I think it just demonstrates

the Aboriginal people genuinely do want that relationship. We wouldn't be here coming forward

for this over and over and over if that's not what we want it. I think back to a time when the Northern Territory intervention

came into play and I know some of you, folks for me as a mother of boys, having uncles, grandfathers and almost as though

all Aboriginal men, you know, were perpetrators or pedophiles and it was a horrible time.

But I remember thinking in some of those campaigns and working with some of our elders from here and other areas

that one thing that sticks with me is that an elder said to me

people got to be careful because it's coming to a town near you. And I think about that BasicsCard. And when they bought that into Northern

Territory, and I know for some people that's a good thing and, and that's okay. But I also think that not long later it has also been introduced

to other communities across the country and to non-Aboriginal people as well. So my thought on that is that for our people,

we genuinely, I believe, want to walk this country together

in sharing our prosperity and also share in that healing that needs to happen through truth telling

because currently when we talk about history and what's my adult children, 23, 27, 29 for them

only my youngest got to do Aboriginal history at school in a local high school here in Wollongong because it wasn't elective

and you know, even though there were 1500 students, not everyone wanted to do it. So I think, , the time is now that we need to share the truth

and what our country and how our country was built. I think on that, that sharing that you're irrepressible generosity

and optimism are just so ingrained as part of our cultural values

that that's just the way we do things. We have to, we want to share we want to actually make sure

everyone's looked after. Everyone has what they need. That's just part of our values and our cultural standards.

Was just going to keep extended standards. Yeah. Well, we could have easily turned to anger

you could have easily turned to revenge and I think as human beings, psychology, that's what a lot of what goes into the fight or flight mode.

But as both Tina and Adam said, it's we come from love,

we come from a place of love and we come from a place of healing. We want to heal and as Tina said, we're proud of our culture.

We've got the longest surviving culture. Why wouldn't we want to share it? We want to share it with the rest of Australia.

We want Australia to come on board. We don't want to be divisive. We don't want to be vengeful,

we want to heal and we want to share and we want to move forward. And that's essentially what reconciliation is. I think that's why we're here, why the theme is a Voice for Generations,

it's all tied in. Thank you. And what fantastic answers they were.

It's really exciting to see how this constitutional reform could potentially impact education systems and what the future of Australia

might look like. So we have a question, another question come through that is fantastic that I'll throw out to the to the panel.

I've heard some people saying that a voice to parliament would be the final act of assimilation.

How do you respond to this argument? Whoever feels comfortable

starting off with this one, thanks team. As I've said,

I feel that we have an amazing opportunity and

some people can perceive this as a tokenistic action from our government.

Maybe it won't work, but we don't know yet. We need to get there first. We need to have this opportunity.

We need to prove that we can do this. We need to prove that we're going to use this opportunity to benefit our people.

And also on the other side, the government needs to prove that they will work with us, can be foreseen as tokenistic, can be seen as a part of assimilation,

but we need to be realistic about the society that we live in now. This is this is how we're going to make our changes.

I know that for some people, the argument is we shouldn't have to ask the government for this.

We shouldn't have to abide by what our current structures are, but that's how our society is run.

That's that this is the processes that we need to do in order to get our voices heard. And we need to take a win when we have it.

We have this referendum coming up. It's an amazing opportunity. Take this win while we can. We might not get this ever again.

Yeah, I think we too need to take into account the historical context and the power dynamics too.

Like we actually can trace back, you know, 1967 the referendum and what that meant and led to, you know, in terms

of your call up and the Barunga statement, all those things. And then we get to 2000 the Walk for Reconciliation,

and then we get to 2017 and we have the, Uluru Statement from the Heart, so we actually can track a through line

of our own movement actually taking the lead on this. So it's not imposed from above, but this is actually a movement

that we own as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people coming through, asserting our self-determination in that way, coming through from us,

not from above. If that makes sense. Yeah, I think. And following on from you Adam, I think for me

that's what it's really about is by having a voice at that table and being able to genuinely communicate,

have a decision in how things are designed, touching on research is it people speaking on behalf of us,

who's analyzing the data, who's telling the story, whose story are they telling is somebody else telling?

We use a lot in government departments or government departments use a lot of evidence based data.

What data data from where other countries or here in Australia? Who's analyzed that data?

Has that story told? What's the impact? I think this really gives us the opportunity

in regards to whether it's part of assimilation or how a person might view that by being able to be at that table to determine how

we're moving forward in the development of, not just we've got to find a program because this is what the evidence is

and this is what we're going to roll out becasue that's what's important. You know, it goes back to what I said earlier. If we keep doing those same things, we're going to get the same results.

We need to work with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on the ground around what's happening for them

and how best, I'm sure if any one of us knocked on your door tonight to say that, you know, this is the problem in your family

and we've got the way to fix it, I'm sure everyone would have a different response to how one, first of all, is there a problem?

And second of all, you know, how's it going to be fixed? So I think, you know, perspective is wonderful

and that's the beauty of us all being individuals. But I think that when I think back to assimilation and

and some of those things, I think about the old dog tags or family members that had exemption

certificates that were proudly reported as 1500 in New South Wales. What a wonderful thing.

You know, it allowed Aboriginal people to move around and get a job and do all of those wonderful things. But it also stopped us from being connected

to our families being able to speak our language, being able to practice any spiritual beliefs that we did.

And it still didn't give us rights anyway because it was up to, you know, anyone else's discretion. So I think this is very different in terms of being able to have a say

at that table to really be able to design that, you know. Yeah, definitely agree.

And if I can just add in terms of from a historical perspective the current,

the way we're currently positioned in the Constitution enables assimilation how we're being proposed

and the amendments will enable us to have the Voice which mean it will be very different and assimilation would be able to occur

because it would be based on our voice, not the voice of general government. You know, obviously they can choose to listen or not listen,

but at least the point of the fact is that we're going to be mentioned in there and be a part of history and acknowledged as the first peoples

of Australia, which is pretty exciting, exciting movement. And we know that this has happened across the world.

I know that in Mexico this happened in the 1500s. So we have this happening in so many different places.

There's lots of places we can look to the mirror, for example, and look at the impact that that has. If you look at the countries that have constitutional recognition,

you look at the language revitalisation in those places and it is insane. And that makes me come back to think of my aunty, my grandma,

you know, who always said to us, If you want to talk to country, you need to talk in and language. that country understands, she's only been listening to English for the past 230.

something years. So I'm really excited to see what it could potentially mean for for language revitalisation across our communities and

and country, truly listening to us and what that might look like for our for our environment.

I've got a fantastic question. So will this Constitution reform

constitutional reform, unify or divide Australia and we can see these currently at the moment there is already it's

if there's both, it's creating unity and the division. But if we're successful, do you think what do you think the reform will do?

Unify or divide anyone? Feel free to jump in. I have to be optimistic and say it's it's got a got to unite us.

It's got to actually integrate us together and make us stronger. I think that that's the the deep hope of all of us here on the panel

and all of us, I think wider who are supporting the Yes campaign. It's our deep hope that it will really unify in a profound way.

Yeah, I tend to agree. I think, Adam, that I think just, by the virtue of being able to openly share

and with the truth being told that I think for future generations

and I think we have seen change, for me, culture doesn't stay stagnant either. And while we

you know, we can't forget our past and new and emerging are coming through, too. And they to showing that they too can pave that way already.

But but I definitely think that, being able to it's like anything, those tables now where you go to a cafe

and people all different people are sitting at the cafe at that one table. You know, generally what happens,

you usually have a little bit of a chit chat or more than often. So I do agree I think that you know, it will unify.

Excellent. Thank you so much. And let's let's see what can happen if we all work together on this

on this movement for more respect and equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We've got one last question. Think. And then depends how long we take in the not much.

So this comes in from a panel, a member of our audience. I have had conversations with an Aboriginal friend

that they are hesitant to vote yes themself, that they believe a treaty system is a better option.

How do we respond to this as non-Indigenous people? That's a great question.

We addressed a little bit of it yesterday. If you want to go through and have a look at yesterday's live streaming and Mondays as well.

Sorry, I just thought I'd add that bit of a plug there so who would anyone want to jump in on that

as a treaty is a better option? That's what they've they're hesitant to vote because they're not the Aboriginal friend.

believe that a treaty system is a better option to the constitutional reform being proposed. Well, I think at first this is I'm assuming this is a non-Aboriginal person.

Yeah, that must be a tricky situation. To be in. Yeah. To have that conversation.

So as we've said, these conversations are going to keep happening and it's about educating yourself

and knowing that there's going to be some tricky ones because in order to grow as people, we've got to change how we go to learn

and got to listen to people a treaty would have been an amazing thing.

We've seen it in New Zealand, we've seen in other countries, and that would have been fantastic if that happened long ago

with what is happening in Australia today, being a democratic society with what we're being able to do.

As, as I previously said, this is this is our opportunity, it would be fantastic if we have an opportunity for a treaty but this is what we're getting

and our next person, if we do get this yes vote and we have our representatives, they can advocate for treaty

but right now we don't have someone who's able to advocate that. We don't even have that representation yet. So my personal opinion is this is the first step

we need to get this representation so that they can then advocate for us in our Aboriginal communities.

If you read the report, there's lots of processes. Each states and territories will have their own governing bodies which will then feed up to this Voice.

But it's this is the first step we need to take it in while we can, we need to get this first

once we have this, then potentially this can open up many more opportunities, not just treaty, treaty could just be one.

So that's my opinion. Yeah, I definitely think it's not either or it's it's this

and then we can work towards what the next step is and that's, you know, in a whole bunch of different ways and truth telling and treaty in makarata

what that means. So if we look at the, the example in Aotearoa, they actually have like a treaty commission.

And so there are actually those bodies that that work alongside those documents and those established structures

so that the impact of those can be felt and administered in that way. So I think that there are some really good learnings that we can take away from

how we establish this Voice as a structure to then as we move forward, we have some lessons already under our belt from our own context

as well about how a treaty and system of treaties may work and be really effective in our own local context as well.

Yeah, and I I'd tend to just agree that I think that as I said earlier, resilience is a big word.

I don't think our people are going anywhere in terms of that. This is it I think that regardless

of what comes first together as a nation, we'll work out what's best for us and how we can do that.

Fantastic. Fantastic. And similar to our Maori brother and brothers and sisters, maybe one day

we will get our seats in Parliament held and set aside for us to as a part of this next movement.

And I often think of one particular person who's in this room actually who has a yarn about the Voice to Parliament and talks

about the journey and says we don't know what generally happens in our journeys. Does that mean that we're not going to take the trip?

So we're planning a trip with our, with our family. We don't know what's going to happen things, we don't know what's going to happen.

We don't know if there's going to be a roadblock. We don't know if an animal is going to jump out, if there's going to be a detour. We're not sure of those things at that point in time.

But we still take the trip so I that resonates with me so much. And my mum really understood that, too.

She was quite excited about that. I said, Are you still going on the trip mum? And she's like, we're coming! Like, fantastic.

Well, you go, so yeah. So yeah, I know right.

So I love that analogy and I think it's important to reiterate what Nadia said about not being the voice, but holding space.

Let's make this business as usual. Let's make us business as usual, let's not be an afterthought as we are generally in lots of different things.

Let's make this this happen and just to us, be at the forefront of things and ask us to come to the party prior to talking about us rather than at the end

and saying, Can you look at this document and see what we've written about you to see if it's OK, we'll write the document.

Thanks. We we've we are moving in our academic space. We are able to hold this position. We're able to write about ourselves now,

which, you know, which is really important. So we just need to get into some other spaces and hold that there...

a bit concerned about our digital space at the moment, but we'll move into that when we when we get the chance.

So I think I have one more question let's see. Let's see if we can get this know I could I could sit here all day and talk about this and I'm sure

you could listen to this all day because it's our first opportunity at UOW that we've had this discussion as an indigenous panel

and for us to ask these questions, I just want to thank our panelists again for providing a safe and comfortable and welcoming

inclusive environment for us to feel like we can participate. So thank you for that, last question.

What do the panel most look forward to in a version of Australia where the Voice is successful?

I love it and that's how we'll finish up. And so what?

Yeah, what do you look forward to the most? I think for me it's about our children feeling safe,

being happy, connected to their family on Country. And, you know, flourishing

and, you know, really building a future where they can be what they can say.

I think it's going back to a couple of other answers. It's the strengths of our culture being really celebrated and really

integrated into everyday life and who we are and our character and our identity. That's that's something worth getting excited about.

Yeah. For me it's both for our generation, but the future generations, knowing

that we're finally accepted at all levels in our society and that we're included.

So knowing that Australia actually welcomes us. Excellent. Thanks. So much for

staying with us today and tuning in, and it's been a fantastic opportunity

to offer this session to you and all the other sessions that we have offered this week. We have our Community Day tomorrow. Be sure to coming.

And it's at the Duck Pond Lawn, I believe. Join us on our cultural immersion event.

We thank you again from our panel. I think everyone online and face to face for joining in on this discussion.

Nice, crucial discussion. Remember, how will you be the voice of generations? Thank you.

For too long, Indigenous Australians have been underrepresented in our political system. The Voice to Parliament proposal seeks to address this issue by establishing a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to advise the Australian Parliament on matters that affect Indigenous Australians. 

The establishment of a Voice to Parliament is an important step towards reconciliation, recognising the importance of First Nations history, and addressing injustices of the past. Importantly, it will give Indigenous Australians a platform to have their voices heard in decisions that affect their lives and communities. 

The Voice to Parliament is fair, the Voice to Parliament is practical, and the Voice to Parliament is unifying. 

UOW strongly supports a First Nation’s Voice to Parliament

The Voice to Parliament is fair, the Voice to Parliament is practical, and the Voice to Parliament is unifying. Let's come together, make our voices heard, and support a more just and inclusive Australia.

Uluru Statement from the Heart panel discussion

An important discussion about the Uluru Statement from the Heart: its roots, significance, and the implications for Australia's First Nations people and the desire for constitutional reform.

Speaker 1

We acknowledge that country for Aboriginal peoples is an interconnected set of ancient and sophisticated relationships.

Speaker 2

The University of Wollongong spreads across many interrelated Aboriginal countries that are bound by the sacred landscape and an intimate relationship with that landscape. Since creation.

Speaker 3

From Sydney to the southern highlands, to the south coast freshwater to bitter water to salt from city to urban.

Speaker 2

To rural. University of Wollongong acknowledges the custodianship of the Aboriginal peoples of this place and space, that has kept alive the relationships between all living things. The university acknowledges the devastating impact of colonization on our campuses footprint and commit ourselves to truth telling.

Speaker 4

Healing and education.

Speaker 5

Will thank you again for joining us here today.

It's wonderful to have you guys here in the audience and also those who are online. So I I love technology and we can actually extend this out beyond those that can physically be here I'm Summer May Finlay, I'm a Senior Lecturer here at the University of Wollongong with Health and Society and I have the pleasure of hosting this dialog on the Uluru statement with these two amazing panelists.

Speaker 5 So I know both of them are really lucky to know both of them. Geoff Scott, he's someone who I've had respected for quite some time.

He used to be my CEO at National Congress of Australia's First People, which was a representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Also formerly the CEO of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council.

Speaker 5 We also have Thomas Mayor here, so Thomas is works for the Maritime Union of Australia. He is an author. He's written children's books about the Uluru Statement and also written other books about the Uluru Statement as well. I highly encourage you to read them and buy them. They're amazing gifts because I thinkit's important particularly that we educate children on the Uluru Statement

Speaker 5 So I'm just going to hand over to these guys and they can do themselves justice in terms of telling you a little bit more about themselves. Than I can. And I just actually want to hand over first to Geoff if you could tell us a little bit about yourself and also what has brought you to be so passionate about the Uluru Statement.

Speaker 3

Oh, thank you Summer. Thank you for having me along this discussion this afternoon. The first to acknowledge the traditional owners, I've been involved in Aboriginal politics for the last 40 years, I suppose. I'm very involved in a been lucky enough to hold a number of positions in different organizations.

But there's always, always been a tenuous relationship with government.

Speaker 3

Our drive here is to try and make that more certain and to put people in a position where we can actually drive those outcomes and play a greater role in the decision making Interesting.

Speaker 5 Thank you. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what's brought you to be so passionate about the Uluru Statement.

Speaker 6

Yeah. So Torres, I'm a Torres Strait Islander fella, I pay my respects to the traditional owners as well, and I elders past and present I, I was a wharfie for 16 years and so I got involved, you know, I learned about the value of unity and, and how important it is to stick together and use the leverage. We want to acknowledge some comrades in the room here from the MUA, the branch secretary and former branch secretary.

Speaker 6

Here I am. So I learn about unity and leverage and sticking together and getting things done for a membership on the wharves became a union official in 2010 and organized rallies and you know those sorts of things in response to the really harmful decisions that were being made in parliament and and through that I started to learn this you know this this issue with our own advocacy how it's it's far too ineffective that the decision makers aren't being held to account.

Speaker 6

And so I became involved in the Uluru statement process when I was invited to a regional dialog in Darwin and, and was elected as a delegate to go to Uluru. I'm really passionate about it because I think that what it proposes taking the lessons from the past is very powerful. It's important for, for all of us and so that's and I haven't stopped fighting for it since we made it happen in five years ago.

Speaker 5

No, you haven't. Absolutely. So just to let you know, I'm going to ask these guys some questions and that gives you time to understand a bit more about the Uluru Statement , but then to actually ask some of your own questions later. And that goes to one line as well. So please submit your online questions and I will pick up my phone at that stage.

Speaker 5 I won't just be texting off, you know, checking emails. I'll actually be looking at your questions. So please make sure that you actually are prepared to ask some questions because we need to know what you need to know to campaign and support the Uluru Statement.

So what is the Uluru Statement ? I'm going to get these guys to actually tell you a bit more about it, but the summary of as it is voice treaty entry, and that's what's in the Uluru Statement

Speaker 5

So I'm going to try to you, Thomas, can you tell us a little bit about what the voice means in relation to the Uluru Statement ?

Speaker 6

Well, the voice is simply the ability for us to influence the decisions that are made about us all the time. As I said, the decisions that have been made about us to date have been harmful. They've failed us. They have they are the reasons I think that we have. You know, the gaps in life expectancy of almost eight years is the reason why we're so disproportionately incarcerated.

Speaker 6

You know, the health issues and education outcomes, it all relates to the decisions that are made in parliament. They set the laws and policies they which include how no states and territories do things. And so a voice is is about influence those decisions that are made. It's also about holding politicians to account to have that strength of voice that can unapologetically do that.

Speaker 6

And and it's also about being able to campaign, to be able to determine our priorities and be in the forefront of decision making. And in such an important thing.

Speaker 5 Absolutely. And it's really important that the voice is constitutionally enshrined, and that's partly because of our history.

Geoff, do you want to share with the audience who may not be as familiar with indigenous history about why the Constitution enshrines important?

Speaker 3

Well, our history of engaging the government has been a checkered one, and everybody to date has been either a policy or legislation.

And history will tell us that each one of those bodies has been abolished by a government of the day. It took a view that no one would wish to hear from that voice, so that having the voice enshrined in the Constitution is one way of giving us certainty.

Speaker 3

And it's a real structural reforms the government can't change, must give, give. I think, too, I was lucky enough to be the executive executive director of the of the Referendum Council. Did the consultations now a very structured forums , we held 12 forums around in the country. And I was designed to get people's views on the table, run through all the options that were there.

Speaker 3

And it was a process of both education debate and seeking the best advice possible so that the outcome every statement is a reflection of those those dialogs that came from the people who went to those 12 forums 13 including the Canberra one and also attended the convention Yeah.

Speaker 6

I think it's not only about the protection of the voice, but it's also about, about that voice being empowered by the Constitution, that structural reform. But also what's important to consider here is that when we win a referendum to enshrine the voice, we are also the Australian people providing a really strong mandate that that voice should be listened to.

Speaker 6

You know, a double majority of people saying yes to that voice, you know, says to the says to the decision makers for all time that they must listen to what the voice says and must act on it.

Speaker 5 It's no mucking around with that, is there?

So that brings us to the next part around truth telling. Thomas, do you wanted to share with us about why you think truth telling in this country is really important?

Speaker 6

Yeah, truth telling is important to win a referendum. We're going to need people to have a grasp of the truth. Right. They need to understand why this should be done. But I just want to say, I, I think I want people to understand that the reason why the voice is the thing that we're focusing on here is not only because it's the most difficult thing to achieve, but it is because the truth is lacking a voice.

Speaker 6

Right now, we have been doing truth telling for a very long time. There's truth telling and in many books, going back a long time, you know, the Boyer lectures, you know, way back. What was the tenor of the great Australian silence? You know, documentaries and movies more and more nowadays, royal commission reports are chockablock full of truth telling, you know, like the rawest, possible truth telling that you can get.

Speaker 6

The thing is that when it comes to truth telling, yes, it's very important. It's an ongoing thing. It's something that needs to be done better. But the politicians that make those harmful decisions, they already know the truth.

What's missing is the political power for First Nations people to get them to implement all those recommendations that they should have done, like for deaths in custody over 20 years ago.

Speaker 6

So we really need that voice. We need that voice to be able to use the truth to get outcomes.

Speaker 5 Yeah, because we've had organizations in the past like ATSIC and National Congress of Australians going to people sharing that truth. And consistently. And you're absolutely right, those organizations were either de-funded all the legislation abolished. So we absolutely need the voice treaty. We've all heard about treaty. We all know the song it is something that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been campaigning for so long that a lot of people actually don't understand what a treaty means.

Speaker 5 Geoff can you kind of maybe just share what a treaty is?

Speaker 3 Well, there are many. Well, we're one of the few western Western societies that don't have a relationship formalized in any treaty with the indigenous people of country First Nations people. When a treaty is an agreement between when during settlement between the Indigenous people and the government. Now, I think we have to have a real conversation about treaty itself, about what's involved in it.

Speaker 3

So there's been a compromise. Put your issues up and how you debate them in who can actually sign the treaty, who's involved, what the scope is, what the range of issues are. Remember, a treaty is a one. You have one, go at it.

And in our experience overseas is that the thing you have to work on most is how you actually implement it and how you handle it.

Speaker 3

But to have a proper treaty process, I think we need a voice somewhere to ensure there are enough resources that it's done properly, it's done appropriately, the right people are involved and just levels the playing field. And without that, organizations you know, the outcome from the treaty is problematic.

We have many being done at the moment at the state level, but we're lacking that leadership at the national level because there's not real scope of what a treaty can cover about the state and national level that needs to be very carefully managed and very carefully discussed and debated.

Speaker 3

So our voice is essential in that sequence. Having a voice first is vitally important. If you've got the voice that can actually ensure that the processes that will follow it be truth telling and treaty will be done properly and we will get the outcomes. So, yeah, tell the government to account not just for the programs and policies are there, but also for the truth telling in the treaty negotiations.

Speaker 5

I mean, if you want an example of why we actually need a voice, we've had 230 something years of non-Aboriginal people making decisions for us and we're not exactly in a very good position so quite frankly, we need that voice to make sure that the next 230 years is a damn site better better. So that's my summary of why we need a voice, because you're absolutely right, because we could have a treaty negotiation we could have a truth telling.

Speaker 5

And if we don't have Aboriginal leadership that are elected by Aboriginal people leading the terms of reference, setting the agenda, all of that stuff, then we aren't necessarily going to be confident that they are what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need.

Speaker 6

Yeah, well there's something about treaty. I mean, we're in a federal system, right? The Federal Government has the majority of power, as Geoff mentioned, that treaties are underway in Victoria. It's been almost a decade of a treaty process the Northern Territory has begun, has begun. Tony McAvoy, the treaty commissioner there, is just handed his report to government recently.

Speaker 6

Queensland has started a process and we actually have a Liberal Government for the first time that has indicated they'll do it in Tasmania.

So this is something that is gaining momentum with the support of the Australian people. You know, the song has made a difference I think, but. But we really need to. It's like a for first nations in those states and territories that are working on treaty.

Speaker 6

It's almost like they have a limited log of claims that they can put on the table without the Federal Government involved. So just to reiterate that importance of the national, you know, a national representative body that's able to reckon with the Commonwealth about what their obligations are to treaty, that's really important. Another really important thing to consider is South Australia, what happened there that treaties so treaty experts say that they'll take decades, right, because of the complexity so long after first contact is very different to the other treaties in the other nations in the world.

Speaker 6

But in South Australia, a hostile government came along and they put the process back to square one, you know, just completely dismissed the treaty process. Victoria, the first nations there are always concerned about what will happen with that. And so a national body will help to keep, you know, keep those states and territories accountable during negotiations and then when treaty outcomes are reached, as Jeff said, it's that constant battle.

Speaker 6

There will be a constant battle legally and politically about getting those outcomes.

Speaker 5

So you probably all know about the Uluru Statement and you've heard about it and I know and you've talked about talked about polls ones come out today. What kind of support is there to the already statement, particularly for the voice at the moment?

Speaker 6

Yeah. So in August last year Crosby Textor you know, a conservative pollster that they did campaign polling which indicated that very close to 60% of the Australian people would vote yes at that point. This is really significant because we have had no campaign resources. Almost no campaign resources. Right.

Turnbull dismissed the Uluru statement in 2017 without a disrespect, the referendum council that did the dialogs they finished up in June when they handed the the Referendum Council report to the government so it's been with the support of universities, my union Aunty Pat Anderson through Lowitja, you know, whatever, you know, people putting in their own funds and money, you know, to travel around and build this

Speaker 6

people's movement. That's 60% without leadership without leadership in parliament it's really significant.

Speaker 3 Yeah. I think that increasing level of support across the country is a testament to the fair mindedness and the fairness of Australian public I think we have to make the best use of that now and that's such a high level.

Speaker 5


Speaker 6


Speaker 3 And not just to find that this level of support, keeping that support bubbling along for the last five years is a testament that people have been involved in it. Megan Bayliss, Pat Anderson and Thomas himself, So getting out there and making the public know what's going on, holding talks and going through them again.

Speaker 3

And then we had a Prime Minister come along who turns up and gives us hope, not fear.

Speaker 2


Speaker 3

And these first words were pretty mean, like was to put the Uluru Statement in voice in the Constitution. That's a real message for us that the Labor Party's committed themselves to it. Opportunities. Now we must take hold of that and sit in the chamber.

Speaker 6

You know, the research shows going this is important for you all going forward and supporting this is that the people that say that vote yes do so because of that fair mindedness. I think it's a, it's a fair thing to do, right. It should have been done before. A lot of people say also that it's a unifying reform, that this is going to somewhat mature our nation, that it's something that we know that we should do for our identity to bring 60,000 years of ongoing culture into into the DNA of who we are, our constitution, and also that, you know, that it can make practical difference actually it's pretty positive that in the opposite direction, those that say that vote no, the research shows that they say no based on thinking that it's only a symbolic reform and not practical.

So that argument about how this is a practical you know, how this will practically help indigenous people is something that you can use to help change people's minds.

Speaker 5

Like there's a lot of conversation around the Uluru Statement, and one of the things that comes up regularly is how can people support a constitutional change if they don't know the details? So how do you how do you explain to people why where we're at is really important and the details will come later?

Speaker 3

I think it's important to put in place here that the voice in the Constitution is is a vision and a focus on how we can make our lives better and what actually happens and try to find a people get to play that role in determining our futures. If there isn't enough detail around about what's in the report with indicators on report is out there now and circulating.

Speaker 3 And we have a fair amount of detail of what

I've seen the report and there'll be more coming out over the next the next few months. But it's a level of detail. But the complete details will be worked out when we get to have a government formally reviewing reviewing the outcomes of the referendum and.

Speaker 6

Just to add to that, there's there's going to be a strategic there's an important piece of strategic thinking in this as well because referendum if you have too many details before a referenda referendum, each of those details can be used in the no case. So, you know, this is going to be worked out with the government over the next six months, eight months, what that level of detail will be.

Speaker 6

I think the simplest response when you hear that question is that it's a representative body, right? There's loads of representative

bodies in these countries. You've got unions, you've got business associations. The parliament

is a representative body. We're not saying that. 700,000 black fellas are going to descend on Canberra, you know, every sittings with. But there's going to be layers of representation,

local, regional and national.

Speaker 6

Simple stuff.

Speaker 3 Significant resource is being devoted to trying to improve the lives of Aboriginal people around the country. And frankly speaking, the level of effort going in and the outcomes is, is doesn't demonstrate the, the outcomes we need. And part of this process is to make sure that there is focus on meeting the needs and aspirations of people, especially the local level.

Speaker 3 People on the ground actually want to know that their voice counts with design and put in place a body that will actually let those voices come through. And it won't be right on the first day. It'll evolve over time. Needs and aspirations on the first day won't be the same as it will be in ten years time. Such an evolving body and evolving organization, same as anybody does.

Speaker 3 And that's how we've got to design, you know,

put a straitjacket at the same time. You've put enough detail in place to make sure it works in each part of the country will have a different view that how they want to be

represented and have their voices be heard, that the challenge here is to make sure their

voices are heard and there's a better life for our children.

Speaker 5 So there's also a conversation about and we've

all probably heard this sort of those of us that are actively involved in the conversation around why we don't legislate the voice first before we actually go to constitutional change.

There's two reasons for that that I hear. One is that the constitutionally shy in making changes so we should legislate first.

Speaker 5

And another one is because we don't need it in the Constitution, therefore because we can have it legislated. What would be your

response to people asking those questions?

Speaker 6

Well, firstly, on legislating first, it's

like, you know, it's a bit paternalistic to say, oh, we have to see you. Blackfellas, you know, have a have a voice first so that we can make sure that you're going to behave

and it'll operate. Alright, you know, I mean, come on. The, the other thing about it is

that if we don't have the courage to go to a referendum and constitutionally enshrined,

it's the most important thing to us at the front of this is that every other voice has been destroyed so we have to have the courage to go there.

Speaker 6

If we were to just legislate it first. To reiterate it is it will be destroyed by a hostile government. Now some people say, yeah,

let's legislate first and then we'll, we'll promise you we'll have a referendum later. We won't reach a referendum if we do that because if the voice does what it's meant

to do and holds politicians to account, then no politician is going to want to pass a referendum

bill that will lead to the voice having more power.

Speaker 6

If the voice has problems, like all human

organizations will, they'll do what they did to ATSIC, amplify those problems. And again, it takes away that opportunity for a referendum. So we've got great momentum now, and we just

need to keep that going and get this done with the right level of detail at the front

end. And we can leave.

Speaker 1 Yeah.

Speaker 3 And we've got to remember the people that want to make this work and make it work the best are Aboriginal and Torres Strait people.

This is about holding the government to account having a say in what our futures and futures are and the future of our children. So it's helping to us to make it work. I'm sure there's

enough people in this country who can do it and I have faith in them.

Speaker 3 And we all must.

Speaker 6

Acknowledge Young Hudson up there. He's got

my book Young Hudson. I mean, he might be the voice one day from this from this area, you know, place for him to step up to a platform that we build.

Speaker 5

Absolutely definitely be a different future for our children. mine is 9 months old. If we have a voice, her future will be different.

I had a great you know, I've had a great 41 years, but I would like to see better in this country for the next generation. And this is one way of doing it. Now, we've got a fantastic

question from our live not live audience, not you got the online audience you will get

your opportunity, I promise.

Speaker 5 So both panelists have mentioned that the previous failed bodies ATSIC and the National Congress of Australias First People we only

failed because of the government, not because of us. By the way, I just want to clarify that. What lessons have you learned from these fiailures so we can use those going forward

in a positive way for the voice.

Speaker 3 But I think the two bodies of work for both

of them, I think they were both effective in their own right putting things in place.

ATSIC I think was a very successful despite what politicians say and I think it was so

lauded in it's absence wouldn't have had an intervention or a cash card or or the CDP

program or the IES program funding.

Speaker 3

Speaker 3 So coming back and saying trust us is not

doesn't wash really. We have to have certainty. We have to have structural reform which gives

us real meaningful power and influence. And in those bodies that was there and I think

when those bodies had that power influences was when they were at their most vulnerable because politicians don't like being held to account.

Speaker 3

And that's what this body would do. It's up to all of us all over to make this work., I'm sure we will.

Speaker 6

Yeah, all those lessons, sorry Geoff, you go.

Speaker 3 So I think we have that support and the majority

of Australians, the polls are telling us that. And with every passing month, those polls are increasing. The Government's seeing that the new government seeing that, the new Prime Minister is seeing that bodes well for our future.

Speaker 6

You know, all those lessons, you know, it

was a huge emotional investment, you know, for us to come together and have that massive,

you know, convention in the heart of the country and have that debate and then pour our hearts and souls into reaching a consensus among ourselves.

Speaker 6

To and then the last five years of work after

Turnbull rejected it and us not taking no for an answer, we can't go. We weak knee'd now the greatest lesson is we have to have the courage to convince all those around us

and the rest of the country to vote yes in a referendum to enshrine this and protect


Speaker 3 And meaningful reform is not easy, if it was it would have been done, it's hard, but it is worth it.

Speaker 5

Can I say I so I was in my early twenties when ATSIC got disbanded, but I did have the pleasure of working for the National Congress

of Australia's first people. It was an amazing experience to work with a collective of Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Aboriginal people for a communal purpose, and that's one of the lessons that I learned while I was there is that we have the skills, the

expertise within our communities.

Speaker 5 We have such strength and motivation. And

so that's the lesson that I learned is that when we have a platform, when we have an opportunity,

we go for gold. Like there is no holding back, we know what we need. So it's not actually

for me about the lessons that we you know, what I learned from that is we actually just need government to get out the way and do the right thing because we have the skills

and expertise within our communities.

Speaker 5 And our allies to stand alongside us championing the cause in a way that we want to be championed, which is why they're their allies and why

they stand with us. So that's probably my biggest learning from Congress.

Speaker 6

Yeah. Can I say something I've learned over

the years, just observing who our leaders are in all these different organizations, you know, like the health peak bodies and that a lot of the people that worked at ATSIC,

you know, like like Geoff and they're the leaders of today, someone, you know, like

you got Pat Turner, you got Aunty Pat Anderson, Professor Megan Davis started there, young

as a young lawyer

Speaker 5 Lawyer, cut their teeth.

Speaker 6

They Pat Dodson, you know, like all these big names right now, Marcia Langton, they all somewhat learn broader politics, black

politics, bureaucracy. You know, in this voice, it is a real training ground for the next

generations to step up to. And so that's something that I also see is something, you know, really

important for the voice

Speaker 5 Absolutely. Absolutely. So we have another question from here, and then we might go to a question from the audience. Jamie is taking

her shoes off, off so I worry I'd be taking my shoes off if I could, but I'm not allowed

to. So there's a question that says thank you. What a great talk this is a multi barreled

question. So I'm going to break it down and so we can answer one part of the time.

Speaker 5 So I'm not going to throw it all at you, but

what would a voice look like? So opponents say it will be a third chamber. Dodgy, dodgy.

People say that what would a voice look like in practice?

Speaker 3 Well, it's a few points. I'll take the third

chamber. One first thing that was a position put forward by the Prime Minister two Prime Ministers ago

Speaker 5

It's hard to keep track.

Speaker 3 You know, it is Liberal.

Speaker 2 Yeah.

Speaker 3

They keep executing their own. On the voice he put that, that show that that view forward knowing it was wrong and so did Barnaby Joyce.

But Barnaby Joyce had good grace to say "I was wrong". It's not a third chamber, in no way is it. It's not an imposition, it's actually the power to influence decision making, the

government not to veto it.

Speaker 3 And that's voice, but the voice we've got

are going to have a structure. I mean there's a debate to go on about what that structure

is. The co-design report, as I mentioned before, can be in place that gives a lead to what

people are thinking, what the current structures are. So but the voice is going to actually

ensure that local voices get heard.

Speaker 3 The people on the ground have their voice.

So a chance to influence what happens will be a measure of success, or otherwise. And

so that the fact that the structure in place where each of the regions

or localized organizations have a chance to have their structures in place, vote for put

up their own representatives their own views there, their own aspirations and also it's

got to be structured now that will influence the state government programs.

Speaker 3

We have a structure here where the bulk of programs are coming from the Commonwealth, but all the human services, the others are

controlled by the state governments. So I have said that multilayered approach and getting

and achieving that success and that that approach is one of the keys to making that work for

ourselves. I mentioned before it'll evolve.

Speaker 3 There's a few suggestions now about how it

would work, but we're working through those and before we have another round of consultations,

I think people were thinking about that. Now, there are many organizations that that represent the views and interests of Aboriginal people but ate not influencing government decisions

very much.

Speaker 5 We hear that the third chamber does come up

from time to time. How do our allies and, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

people kind of counter that conversation, that narrative maybe? Thomas.

Speaker 6

Yeah, it's bullshit.

Speaker 5

To start with that.

Speaker 6

That's just not, you know, I mean these read

the Referendum Council final report, listen to Indigenous leaders, read ythe Uluru Statement, it doesn't say third chamber to parliament, right? So the reason I think that they came

out and said that with the, you know, the coalition beholden to the right was this was a tried and true scaremongering tactic. Right I watched wick versus Queensland on NITV several

years ago and I saw John Howard basically saying this very same thing that, you know,

that Aboriginal people are going to be able to veto legislation if this gets through,

you know, this sort of crap.

Speaker 6

And so yeah, it's a scaremongering tactic,

that's all it was. It's just not true. They use that as a scare mongering tactic because

of course Indigenous people would love to have a third chamber, the Parliament would

love to be able to, you know, block legislation that we don't like but we know that it's impossible.

We're not going to achieve that.

Speaker 6

The Australian people are never going to vote that up. It's an advisory voice and I guess this is an opportunity to talk about that

because it's advisory doesn't mean that it's powerless. So the fact is nothing is more

than advisory to Parliament. It's parliamentary supremacy you know, it would be reaching too

far to try and get that the power in it is, is the ability for us to choose our representatives.

Speaker 6

And this goes to what it looks like again

for us to be able to choose our representatives, for us to be able to hold those representatives

to account through the process of democracy and and for for our representatives to come together regularly, which we don't right now, and have our debates in an informed and well

resourced way to come together, reach consensus on what our priorities are and what advice

we're going to give.

Speaker 6

And then and then that advice being the strongest

possible advice that we can give. And when politicians choose to ignore that advice and we're saying voice to Parliament here, so it'll be transparent to the people that are

being representative than the broader Australian public. It's much more politically precarious for for a government to say no to what we're saying and then the other part of the power

is for us to be able to campaign if they ignore us in a much more effective way than we have


Speaker 5 Can I say it's probably the only time that

I've ever agreed with Barnaby Joyce is was not a chamber of Parliament. Anyway, let's

go to a question from the audience. Jamie, don't be shy. Stick your hand up thanks. I

always love an icebreaker, but it's.

Speaker 6

My name is Mick Cross

Speaker 5

It's like you've got a big voice.

Speaker 6

and I'm secretary of the Maritime Union here in Port Kembla. And I was lucky enough to be down the coast two years ago. Now, Thomas,

when you took the training down in Vincintia that day we had down there and I have been

know I have the privilege, as Gary has done as well, to stand in front of workers and

represent workers.

Speaker 6

And what I saw that day was what the representation

that was needed for Aboriginal people in this country. And, you know, the debate and the

way that was spoken of that day was that.

Speaker 3 Mob down there. We're not going to allow.

Speaker 6

The people who were going to push forward

through the Uluru Statement to

Speaker 3 Tell them what they needed.

Speaker 6

It wasn't about that. It was about you represent

us and you'll represent us in the Parliament and the needs of people in that area, just

like all mob all around the country. And I just thought from a representative aspect,

it was such a wonderful debate and a wonderful thing to see for myself to see how that was

going to work.

Speaker 6

And that's true representation because as a country we have not represented Aboriginal people well at all. Like you say, some are


Speaker 3 More a statement.

Speaker 6 Of the question. But I mean if you wanted to move forward and that's what I think the representation looks like Thomas, absolutely.

Thank you.

Speaker 2 Yeah.

Speaker 5 I do encourage questions. So that was a great statement. So supportive of that one. So thank you for that. Is anyone else got a question?

Before I go back to the online, I've got a question. Lucky you took your shoes off.

Speaker 2 Right that's.

Speaker 6 Quite unusual for me.

Speaker 3 Davis is my name,

Speaker 6 I'm a Ph.D. student in economics. My question is the question about laws that pass, because you already mentioned the fact that the state parliaments also make a whole lot of laws that are relevant here about our constitutional voice enshrined in the federal constitution.

Speaker 3 Can't really. Do anything about the states having to pay attention to it.

Speaker 3 It. Now, is that.

Speaker 6 Aspect to be resolved? Is the idea that the states would have the opportunity to incorporate a reference into their constitutions now? Yeah. So I think now that the voice can concentrate on the state of the state needs to do something or if they're doing something wrong. So I don't think so if it's a national voice, that doesn't mean that it can't try and influence the state and what they're doing that's yeah.

Speaker 3 But there's a complex relationship with these issues and it's not true to say that the Commonwealth has all the powers in relation to Aboriginal

and Torres Strait islander people, the people they the concurrent powers, both the state

and the Commonwealth have both have the state has a lot of power in terms of services, land

management and key issues they need to resolve.

Speaker 3 Again, it's about negotiation but it's having a body that is professional, rigorous, mature and can achieve its aims. Part of those aims

are influencing decision making at both levels of government, including local government where that's the closest to the community and that affects the lives of people every

day, having that multi-layer approach one of the bigger challenges here is how we ensure that that has influence at the state and federal level.

Speaker 6

Well, just to add before you do, I think, you know, I mean the voice same as what sort of laws and policies it will try and effect.

It doesn't need it can decide what its priorities are. Right. It doesn't like because sometimes the question comes up, would it only be able to speak to indigenous legislation sort of

issues but you know, I mean it could be about superannuation because it affects our people

because, you know, we tend to die younger.

Speaker 6

But just that the other thing that I wanted

to add is that it could focus internationally, you know, in solidarity with other first nations

or you know, on, on climate change and action, for example. It's really what we choose to


Speaker 3 On just one example about this is the current

state of cultural heritage legislation across the country. We've got enough examples of

how that is just disastrous. We stand there with you can go in with the Commonwealth has

dropped they've dropped the bar so low that the states don't have a high bar to achieve.

They're actually put in place their own rules so that's one example of it.

Speaker 3

But not to shine a light on injustice where

it holds. It's, you know, it's the state incarceration rights, the child protection issues. It's

something this body can do and give it give it real power. And that light needs to shine

and be shone very brightly.

Speaker 6

I guess where I'm getting confused so you

can correct me here is I've always thought.

Speaker 3

That the voice not only was constitutionally


Speaker 6

So that existed, but there'd be something

in there that talked about the requirement.

Speaker 3 For the parliament.

Speaker 6

In certain circumstances to actively reach


Speaker 3 To the voice.

Speaker 6

So does that not happen.

Speaker 3

In the in the in the model where we expect

the model itself when it comes out in the voice itself, the requirement for the for

the government to consult and to take take that that consultation, that advice into account

in making their decisions, the voice can have decision making in Parliament that Parliament

given where its own decision making.

Speaker 3 Now, I can't see that happening.

Speaker 6

Yeah. And you also have to keep in mind the

the power of the Australian people enshrining that, you know, so that mandate basically

there'd be an expectation that there's actually power and there'd be an expectation that if

the Government's making a decision that's going to affect Indigenous people, that they

will go to the voice regardless of any requirement.

Speaker 5 And can I just respond to your state and territory

versus national? We know that the state and territories collaborate with the, with the

Commonwealth Government regularly. We've seen that with COVID, with the AHPP I think it

is. Don't ask me what the acronym stands for. I never get it right. We also now say we've

Closing the Gap.

Speaker 5 That was a Commonwealth initiative that was

supported through coag's by the states. So there are mechanisms for the State and Commonwealth

to get together and actually come up with an effective national approach, which is where

I say the voice would also be influencing as well. So it's not like the states act independently

on everything, usually with policy that is both national and state and territory, there

is a process of collaboration.

Speaker 5 So the voice will absolutely be involved in that as my my understanding so we've got a question here, and I have to say this is a

really good question because it's something that I hear all the time and it's come from

a non-Aboriginal person and non-Indigenous person they they know that not all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people support the Uluru Statement .

Speaker 5

So and they want to support it, but they're a bit that that what it says here already. I've always been a supporter of the already

statement but have been hearing that not all Indigenous Australians agree with the goals

of it. As an ally, I want to ensure I understand the conversation and do my best to support a fair Australia.

Speaker 5 Could you speak about more about people saying from the statement or not providing a voice for everyone? So basically this person wants to support the Uluru Statement but is concerned that they would be going against Aboriginal people that don't support it?

Speaker 6 Yeah, so if we were to wait for 100% of us to agree to something we would never go anywhere. We would just say it's like saying, okay, I'm happy with the status quo.

Speaker 5 Yeah. All the efforts related to Scott Morrison or Tony Abbott's plan.

Speaker 6 Yeah. So we're not homogenous, it's disappointing that we have to say that something I know this person is not saying that it is, it is difficult, you know, but geez, this is, this is our moment in time. We did that hard work, you know, I talked about it earlier to reach a consensus and to invite the Australian people to walk with us, for you to walk with us and not lag behind because, you know, someone else wants to stay behind.

Speaker 6

You know, we've really got to take this moment. This is, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we've got to grab it with both hands.

And so so what I say to people is, look, respect that there are differences of opinions and you know, you have to sometimes acknowledge that people have those differences of opinions.

But what I ask you to do is to think about it yourself, consider the logic, consider all the lessons of the past that we have talked about that make your statement and then make up your own mind and then get out there and talk to people that you can convince.

Speaker 6 There's some people that are always going to be entrenched against it. They'll never move. But there's a massive swathe of the middle Australia that can be moved and we'll get across the line. Don't worry about the extremes. Yeah.

Speaker 3 I think we can never achieve 100% consensus on what the issues are and we're not the thought Police, we have to think differently. What we would ask is that people, when they're thinking about these matters, make an informed and informed decision in the best interest of people the best interests of the future.

And especially our children.

Speaker 5 Another question from the audience Is anyone else? Yep. Played in the front. He works yet new 10,000 steps in today.

Speaker 2 Thanks very much for this, as a non-indigenous person and started to about this already. Well what are the the tips and then what can we do to make a difference now and to try and influence for when the referendum comes out.

Speaker 6 So the research shows this correlation of increasing support for the Uluru Statement since since five years ago with the numbers of people that say that they have learned a about the Uluru Statement, and so just sharing the Uluru statement words with people that haven't heard it is a very powerful thing.

So in your book clubs or in your sporting clubs or whatever, you know, or workplaces just you know, in the tea break or whatever, just, just read Uluru statement.

Speaker 6

Yeah, that is a very powerful action. And the other thing is that the politicians still matter in this, right? They hold the constitutional door and we need to convince them to open it, which means passing a referendum. So we need to, even though Labor is committed to it, they're politicians and they'll still tend to take the easiest path they need to understand that we can win.

Speaker 6

So make your support loud and public where everyone can use social media hashtags, all that sort of thing. With that support from one major party, we still don't have it from the other, but they're saying that considering it, I've got my doubts, but we're going to try it. I mean, we don't need bipartisanship to win. We don't need them, but we got to do our best to convince them because it will make it much more certain that we will be.

Speaker 6

So I think it would be a good thing to do to direct any correspondence towards Dutton, whatever, bombard them with letters saying You've got to keep bipartisanship. That's what we can do right now.

Speaker 3

I can also make the point that I think that you can talk to you, your friends, your colleagues, your workmates about the issues. I mean, in the appealing to the same audience that every every Australian, I if I find people Australians very fair minded people, we want the best country we can have. We've got a great country, but it can be better.

Speaker 3 It's been better than someone else's good, not better. And can be. And I think that's the challenge we all have.

Speaker 5 So if you're online, you've probably got one minute or 2 minutes to send through another question. So we probably only got time for one or two more. We've got a question from over here. Fantastic. Thank you.

Speaker 2 Can you hear me? Yep. Hi. My name's Jane, and I just wanted to encourage people here to take up the ideas of Thomas and Geoff are suggesting. I'm part of an alliance that's in based. Well, we we would like to say we're a national alliance. We support the work of Thomas and other people who are working to get a referendum going.

Speaker 2 And I would certainly encourage you, if you are interested, and to set up a group in Wollongong, that can become part of the broader alliance and generally get, you know, get out on the street promoting and talking to people about the voices Thomas and Jeff have said and maybe liaising with people in the broader alliance.

So I'm happy to at the end of this to take people's emails and sort of link people up if that's if anyone is interested in that.

Speaker 2 Thank you.

Speaker 6

Can I just say thank you, Jane, for your solidarity over many years, you know, some of the earlier supporters. There's a wonderful network of, you know, alliance in this area and Sydney. So please approach Jane later. I'm sure they could use some more supporters on there. Thank you.

Speaker 5 Can I just say, Tom, I said before about international support and supporting it people internationally, but two of my colleagues who I work with and another capacity are on line from Aotearoa and they've just made a comment and I want to share it because I want you to understand that Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people are pushing for this.

Speaker 5 But our Indigenous cousins in other countries are absolutely supporting us to achieve our goals as well. So they said "to our Indigenous cousins in Australia, privilege to listen from Aotearoa New Zealand, much aroha and support for the voice from Emma and Adrian, and I love those two. So thank you for that and it's great to hear that our cousins are over the ditch, are actually also in support of this.

Speaker 5 We'll get the wrap up really, really soon. But I think there's a really important question around what success look like, what is success in terms of the restatement in all three components? Do you want to share your insight into what success would look like? Yeah.

Speaker 3 Yeah. I think success is actually to a point where Aboriginal people are involved in the decision making and what their fates and futures are today. That's very, very incomplete or very maybe. We don't have much say what goes on. Politicians decide that there are too many politicians who are saying, you know what's good for us when that actually does make a difference.

Speaker 3 We've got to remember here that what the Uluru Statement was, was a very eloquent and a heartfelt appeal to the Australian people. For a decision, and that and that should be and that Australian people should have that opportunity to make that decision. And this I can live it.

Speaker 6 And yeah, for me it's an Australia where there isn't the gaps anymore, you know, where we can expect to live as long as non-Indigenous people, where the incarceration rates are not so, you know, so terrible when we close those shameful gaps in all of those areas, I think that's the Australia that we want. And then beyond that, I think a voice, you know, where we have contributed into our society being much more inclusive and equal with those that are most vulnerable are cared for.

Speaker 6 And I think the voice would go on and do that sort of work as well.

Speaker 5 So I'm not putting Thomas on the spot here because I did ask him before, but Thomas actually knows that Uluru statement off by heart don't ask me to do it. I'm certainly not able to do it, you know, and when we've heard he, you know from Geoff that it is a heartfelt statement. If you hear Megan Davis speak it, it's amazing.

Speaker 5 And so, Thomas, I'm just going to ask you, do you mind just speaking over his statement for those who are here and online?

Speaker 6 Yeah. You're going to learn it sis, all right! That we're going to lots of campaigning to do. We gathered at the 2017 national Constitutional Convention coming from all points of the southern sky to make this statement from the heart our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes for the first sovereign nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands and possessed it the under our own laws and customs.

Speaker 6 This our ancestors did according to the reckoning of our culture from the creation according to the common law from time immemorial and according to science, more than 60,000 years ago. This sovereignty is a spiritual notion, the ancestral tie between the land or Mother Nature and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are born therefrom remain attached there to and must one day return to be united with our ancestors.

Speaker 6 This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil or better of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished and it co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown. How could it be otherwise that a peoples possess the land for 60 millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history nearly the last 200 years? With substantive constitutional change and structural reform.

Speaker 6 We believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia's nation. Proportionately, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people, our children are alien from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers , they should be

Speaker 6 our hope for the future. These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem, this is the torment of our powerlessness. We see constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny. Our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.

Speaker 6 We call for the establishment of a First Nation voice enshrined in the Constitution. Makarrata is a culmination of our agenda, the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children. Based on justice and self determination, we seek a Makarrata commission to supervise the process of agreement making between governments and First Nations and truth telling about our history in 1967 we were counted in 2017.

Speaker 6 We seek to be heard, we leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

Speaker 4 That doesn't have to be just, you know, you've.

Speaker 5 Probably heard this a lot, but how does it feel hearing it again?

Speaker 3 I think is one of the most eloquent, well crafted documents ever seen, I mean much research written about document I've come across. It's a it is powerful, it's a message to the Australian people and our message and I think we can say the evidence that is being heard in the politicians are hearing that and there's a chance to make a decision it in about 12 months we hope.

Speaker 5 So just final reflections from both of you before we wrap up where to from here and what would you like what else would you like to share that we already haven't covered.

Speaker 6 This is I just want to reiterate this is our opportunity, right? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. There's been decades of work go into this not just the last five years. It's not just the you know, the several years that led to the Uluru statement. It's all of that struggle before all of those things that we've tried that have failed or the broken promises, you know, all of the bastardry towards our people coming together in this moment where you have an opportunity to change this country, to accept over 60,000 years of continuous culture as your own, as us, as our identity, as Australians.

Speaker 6 And our children are so proud of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, when they learn about it, you know, they come home, they tell you about the latest languages name that they've learned or about the Indigenous seasons. I mean, I don't know why we haven't done this already, for crying out loud. We've got to do it in this generation and this is our opportunity so let's go out there and fight for it.

Speaker 3 This land for me, I think achieving the reform of the voice in Parliament will be we'll see the maturing of our nation a time where our nation matures to a point where we go together as one, not a separate people and our fates are tied to each other and that's, that's, that's my hope, a dream to the future.

Speaker 5 For me, when I think about the statement, I think it's a gift to this country. It's an absolute gift. It is a road map and it's a gift. And it's a legacy that we have an opportunity lead leave to the next generations, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. I think it's really important that we understand what the Uluru Statement is, we advocate around the whole statement.

Speaker 5 So as I said to our friends, to our colleagues, to our MP's, it would be a shame to miss this opportunity because and not to be a downer, but our life expectancy and our co-morbidities, et cetera, aren't great, we need to make a change because it is our mob that die every single day.

Speaker 5 So we have to make a change and this is the way we do it. And the other.

Speaker 2 comments?

Speaker 6 Out time is now everybody.

Speaker 1 Right?

Speaker 6 Yeah.

Speaker 5 And the hashtag each time is really important if you're going to do it on Twitter, I encourage you, if you're on Twitter, social media, get out there and share it today. Link into the statement around the Uluru statement the website. There's a whole bunch of information, Jeff, on which website.

Speaker 3 The Uluru Statement website. Please make sure that you're pushing it far and wide. We need the ripple effects. Every person makes a small ripple and each of those ripples makes a big ripple until we actually have a change. So thank you very much. Thank you. Can we just thank the two panelists today.

Speaker 4 So I would.

Speaker 5 Say it's an absolute pleasure hearing from them. The University of Wollongong is absolutely committed to reconciliation, they've made a commitment to the Uluru statement, which is why we have these two gentlemen here and we just want to show you a bit about our commitment to reconciliation.

Speaker 3 Our vision is a reconciled united Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are positioned as the knowledge holders of history, country and culture.

Speaker 2 We will create teaching, learning and working spaces that are based on trust and respect, a free from bias and discrimination and value our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students.

Speaker 3 A dramatic and significant shift has occurred at UOW that shines a light on our institutions evolving commitment to addressing the plight of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Speaker 6 Peoples through truth telling, cultural safety, and healing.

Speaker 2 The UOW leadership team are committed to walking the reconciliation journey as allies with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues and community.

Speaker 3 We are committed to the tough conversations and changes needed ahead.

Speaker 2 We exist to be fearless in the pursuit of our purpose and to create a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allyship at UOW that will hold a shared vision for the future.