YES ... all that noise ...
There is a lot of talk amongst "the noise" about us all being equal. You all know that according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 1 states that: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood".
Some say that here in Australia there is no need for an individual group to have a voice to Parliament, and that we are all equal according to the law. But, in reality, and if we are heartfelt & honest, this is not the case for many minority groups and most seriously for our First Nation's people. Hence our upcoming referendum. Observations follow from both my experience and readings of the Yes and the No cases as I believe that the mental health of our nation could be in peril.
There are a number of very good ethical reasons for a Voice for our First Nations peoples to be enshrined in the Australian constitution. If you wish to read further the Ethics Report on the Voice is available online.
We learned at school that our Constitution was written on a falsehood. The British claimed and colonised the great southern land known then as "Terra Australis Non Cognito" (but strangely enough also called New Holland) as both the French and the Dutch were here as well - not to forget the many islander trading nations. The British claimed, according to international law at the time, that the land was "terra nullius".
This Latin term means “land belonging to no one”, which has been interpreted as a complete absence of people and additionally the absence of “civilised” people capable of land ownership. This premise was obviously false and subsequently the Australian Constitution written was written on this falsehood.
What has happened in this country since then is unconscionable. Most Australians will remember "the White Australia Policy" but if you don't ... you'll find it online too.
Australians will also remember that the claim "terra nullius" was overturned in 1992 by the High Court of Australia's Mabo decision.
Enshrining a Voice to Parliament in the Constitution cannot be undone by any one future political party, group or individual. So in other words it is a very serious amendment to the law upon which this country has been built and not just some airy-fairy talk. It creates serious ethical reparation in writing ... in righting the wrongs and making amendments by moving forward to allow pro-active discussion with all those immediately concerned for the next step, Treaty.
Sixty-odd thousand years or thereabouts, Indigenous peoples continuously live on and from the land
22 August 1770, Captain Cook (journal entry) took possession of all of the east coast of the great south land in the name of the English King, George III
26 January 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip raised the flag of Great Britain
1 January 1901 the Australian Constitution took effect after being passed by a British Act of Parliament in 1900.
1967 a referendum successful in creating citizenship for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
1992 "terra nullius" overturned in the High Court Mabo Decision recognising Native Title and their continuing connection to the land
2008 Bipartisan support passed the Motion to the House, "Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples"
14 October 2023 Referendum. At the time of writing, the outcome is unknown ...
YES vote gets up civility wins and Australians stand proud
NO vote gets up, it's a backward step, civility loses, all Australian's lose and a further stain settles over the Nation which will be hard to recover from this time
As the noise gets more vicious and louder I am tuning out and turning to my drawing board where I shall find solace in making things ...