26 January 2022

Prof Megan Davis [$]: Changing the date is akin to lipstick on a pig. It moves the date but doesn’t address the more complex underlying issue that drives anti-Australia Day sentiment, and that is the place of First Nations people in our nation. … The Uluru Statement from the Heart … seeks a primary reform — the right to be heard. It calls for a constitutionally protected voice to parliament for First Nations people. It presents a vision for the ­nation that is anchored in the ancient cultures of this continent. It combines better indigenous participation in the democratic life of the state, as Aboriginal advocates have been asking for over a century, with the agency of a ­national referendum. … The voice to parliament is in effect a duty to consult First Nations on laws and policies that impact them. Closing the Gap is decade-long evidence that this does not happen now. The bushfires and the vaccine rollout are recent evidence that First Nations are excluded from policy discussions on matters that impact upon them. … [The Uluru Statement] is a rallying call for all Australians. It is the voice to parliament referendum — more than any debate over a future republican model — that would truly unite our nation.”