Uluru Statement From The Heart

November 21, 2022


Do you hear that sound, Deputy Speaker Freelander? It's history calling us. For 60,000 years, First Nations people have been speaking, but under our Constitution our First Nations people have no voice. So let's fix this together. Together we can learn from and correct history now, so I'm proud to speak on the motion put forward by the member for Robertson.

History isn't just calling me and everyone else in this parliament, including the previous speaker, the member for Wentworth, it is calling on every adult Australian, so we all need to work together with one voice and correct history. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change this country for the better, which I'm sure the young students up in the gallery will embrace. As Prime Minister Albanese said at the Garma Festival earlier this year:

The Uluru Statement is a hand outstretched, a moving show of faith in Australian decency an d Australian fairness from people who have been given every reason to forsake their hope in both.

I am determined, as a Government, as a country, that we grasp that hand of healing, we repay that faith, we rise to the moment. I share Prime Minister Albanese's optimism. As a nation we can succeed, but to do this we will need out communities and our community leaders to step up and become active.

We will need our community leaders to take the lead by starting conversations within their groups and their meetings, on their streets, over their back fences. This means the leaders at our local Lions Club, Zonta, Rotary club, footy club, P&C, church, mosque, meeting hall and P&F, and the heads of our African, Bosnian, Chinese, Dutch, Eritrean, Korean, Pasifika, South American, Taiwanese, Vietnamese and every other group. Wherever you or your ancestors once called home, your nation now needs you to step up. We need you out there informing, educating, engaging, fighting the good fight against ignorance, a fight to correct history. We need everyday Australians to encourage their family, friends, neighbours and community to vote yes for the Voice.

History is also calling my parliamentary colleagues in Queensland. History is asking you to get out there and call on your volunteers to campaign as hard as they did for your election in 2022. It won't be enough just to say you support a First Nations voice to parliament; you actually need to act. Caring is doing. You need to act by actively campaigning for a yes vote. My dedicated team in Moreton is ready to go and will work alongside you.

As a nation, we need to accept this outstretched hand offered by First Nations people through the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Their generous Uluru statement builds on the strong history of Indigenous advocacy for a better future based on justice and self-determination.

In May 2017, on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum, First Nations representatives gathered in Central Australia to forge an historic consensus on structural reform and constitutional change. This consensus followed a groundbreaking process of First Nations voices from across Australia through 12 deliberative dialogues. Joining each dialogue were a representative sample of approximately 100 First Nations people drawn from local traditional custodians, Indigenous community based organisations and Indigenous leaders. These regional dialogues selected their own representatives to attend the First Nations National Constitutional Convention at Uluru. At the convention, and by an overwhelming consensus, more than 250 delegates adopted the Uluru statement. The key to achieving that remarkable consensus on such a complex problem was a process designed and led by First Nations people—such an important precedent in Australian history. I believe the Voice will improve the lives of First Nations people in practical ways by giving local communities a say in areas like education, health and housing.

I must also mention the hard work of Minister Linda Burney, the Labor First Nations caucus and all those in parliament who have contributed to this. I see the member for Berowra, who I know has been involved in this, in the chamber. Thank you all for bringing this together. I'll finish with another quote from the Prime Minister from Garma:

Hope in your abilities as advocates and campaigners, as champions for this cause.

And hope because I believe the tide is running our way. I believe the momentum is with us, as never before.

I believe the country is ready for this reform.

I know that so many of my First Nations colleagues, and people that I went to school with out in St George, will be looking forward to the opportunity for the nation to speak up.