I feel it’s about time I wrote more on my culture. It has been a while since I have published my views, but something has come to my attention this week. The show, Q and A with Shareena Clanton.
I honestly can’t express how proud I am, for someone like Shareena to use her voice! Everything she said, are the views I have. It will be what most Indigenous people know and agree with. However she’s now being slandered on Australian News Media for speaking up and saying truths! It isn’t about the past anymore. It’s about the present and our future. There are no Indigenous voices in Parliament. Fact.
When it comes to the running of your own country, would you rather be ‘symbolically recognised’ or have an actual voice who will fight what is right?
Last year, the Prime Minister + Indigenous Affairs Minister + a former attorney general (All Non-Indigenous men), rejected the Referendum Council’s proposal for a referendum to establish an indigenous ‘Voice to Parliament’. There was over 250 delegates who agreed to this referendum, but why was it rejected?
The government and the Prime Minister himself have stated – “The government does not believe such an addition to our national representative institutions is either desirable or capable of winning acceptance in a referendum. Our democracy is built on the foundation of all Australian citizens having equal civic rights … a constitutionally enshrined additional representative assembly for which only Indigenous Australians could vote for or serve in is inconsistent with this fundamental principle.” (the guardian)
Instead the Government proposed a symbolic recognition, which accepts that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are the first peoples of the land.
Of course Aboriginal leaders rejected that proposal, demanding it is time for an Indigenous voice in parliament! Which Aboriginal people are constantly being slandered for not doing anything to be a voice in parliament.
So what are Indigenous people doing to try and get our ‘Voice to Parliament?’ If you do not already know, Aboriginal leaders have taken off to other countries to get help from other cultures. Cultures who have reconciliation and a voice in parliament. Or cultures who are in the same predicaments as our people. The biggest voices Aboriginal leaders work with are Indian American’s and Maori New Zealanders.
Indian American’s unfortunately share the same issues when it comes to our cultures voice being heard. We are two cultures who have traveled similar paths in history and in present times. At the moment both of our cultures are learning from one another.
Most of our hope of any reconciliation is the hope of having what Maori New Zealanders have. Maori leaders are constantly going to Canberra alongside our Aboriginal leaders fighting to keep our sacred land, fighting to get our cultures voice in parliament. Sometimes Maori leaders take it to their own government, in hopes of fighting for Aboriginal rights across the Tasman Sea.
There are all types of movements that Aboriginal people are constantly battling. From the new stolen generations – deaths in custody – Our cultures sacred lands being sold to mining companies – Aboriginal towns being wiped out also because of mining and now this – voice in parliament rejected. How many more kicks in the guts will our culture be given until change happens? And it will happen. It’s inevitable. Just when? Before I start my own family? Or will my children have to face the same fights?
It feels like we are unable to do anything to reconcile with a Government who do not seem to want reconciliation. As Shareena said, “When you apologise, you don’t do it again.” I will leave you with this video of Shareena, for she says everything all Indigenous people are wanting to be heard!
It’s 2018 and our culture is still fighting. We deserve the right to Reconciliation. We deserve the right to have that ‘Voice to Parliament’!
Kianee Gordon is an Aboriginal woman from Wailwan & Wiradjuri Country in Western NSW. To read more of her work, check out her full collection of articles here.
Welcome to Country is an independent Indigenous news/media website. The website is an open platform for all Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders to get our views seen and heard. Help support Welcome to Country by making a donation today.