An Indigenous voice to parliament is great, but who’s listening?


This week, Australia’s political leaders have gathered at the Garma festival in North East Arnhem land and the latest buzz word is Makarrata & creating an Indigenous voice to parliament.

Malcolm Turnbull Garma Festival 2017 Yunupingu Gurrumul
A picture says a thousand words – Malcolm Turnbull @ Garma 2017

This all sounds great but the reality is, the Indigenous and non Indigenous figureheads have already acknowledged that this Indigenous voice, although enshrined in the constitution, would still have no real power. So what is the point? I would argue that an Indigenous voice already exists. We have outspoken Indigenous members within the government, the voice is there! The government does hear their voice within the government and they hear our voice on the streets too. The government is simply trying to dance around the elephant in the room.

Ken Wyatt - The first Aboriginal Frontbencher in Australian Parliament
Ken Wyatt – The first Aboriginal Frontbencher in Australian Parliament

There is nothing left to say on this…We have a voice but the government chooses not to listen. Why waste more time and money pushing for something that has no real power or meaning? Aboriginal figureheads who have been at the forefront of constitutional change have constantly said that it is useless to fight for a meaningless statement to the preamble of the constitution. How is a powerless Indigenous voice more meaningful? Perhaps they need to take a step back and look at the big picture. It seems to me like the wool has been pulled over their eyes in recent months, before, during and after the Uluru statement from the heart.

An Indigenous voice to parliament could be the ‘conscience‘ that has long been missing from Australian political circles, but without any real power the government would continue to ignore the voice of reason and our lands, cultures, languages and people will continue to remain as after thoughts to the Australian government. Do you feel the same about this? Is there another agenda going on here? Is the push for a constitutional change more about creating some kind of legal standpoint that turns our outright sovereignty into some kind of mutual partnership where we are powerless?

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