Today’s hearing on the Voice Referendum highlights so much that is wrong with this Voice process.
I don’t take it personally that I’ve been actively excluded from this hearing. First Nations leaders right across the country who talk about Sovereignty and Treaty have been sidelined from the beginning of this ironically titled Voice consultation process.
This whole Voice business goes against the culture of this land, the way we First Nations people listen to each other. When we talk with people we yarn, we don’t go into a meeting with blinkers on and ignore those that disagree with us to fast track our agenda. We listen to the other party and expect them to listen to us. We take the time to consider what each other are saying and work together to find a resolution in the interests of both parties.
With 11 other delegates I walked out of the Uluru convention because they were refusing to discuss Sovereignty and Treaty. Megan Davis herself admitted that they “banned significant leaders from the movement because of their cynicism about government and the country changing.” Well sister, its time for you to give the cynics less to be cynical about and hear what we have to say.
On 15 February this year I sent a formal letter to the Prime Minister requesting that myself and representatives of the Blak Sovereign Movement be given an audience with the First Nations Voice to Parliament Referendum Working Group. Despite following this up with both the Prime Minister and Linda Burney, I still haven’t received a response.
Last week it took the Freedom of Information Act for the government to release the transcripts of the First Nations Regional Dialogues in the lead up to the Yulara Convention and Uluru Statement from the Heart. These transcripts expose that our people were not asking for a ‘Voice’, they were asking for self-determination, for their Sovereignty to be recognised and for a Treaty. I am not out here speaking for myself. The views I put out there are held by First Nations people right across this country and it’s about time we were given a voice about the Voice.
Today’s Joint Select Committee, which has today been hearing from experts like Tony Abbot and the unheard voices of Noel Pearson and Warren Mundine, was meant to include a member of the crossbench, chosen by the crossbench. But that’s not how it happened. I’m left to listen online, while they keep control of the narrative and hear what they want to hear from the people they want to hear it from.
The Blak Sovereign Movement demands a meeting with the Prime Minister and the Referendum Working Group to have our voices heard.