Uluru Dialogues Director Geoff Scott (far left) met with Mt Druitt locals for a highly successful referendum information session. (Image credit: Kirstie Parker / The Uluru Dialogue)
THE ULURU DIALOGUE continues to get out and about, talking to Aussies about the upcoming referendum on a First Nations Voice to Parliament.
Our Director Geoff Scott recently presented a Referendum Yarn-up event at Mt Druitt in Western Sydney and found a huge appetite for information and support for the Voice amongst mob and others who attended.
“I came to the session today after seeing a flyer and through word of mouth from fellow Aboriginal people in Western Sydney,” said Mark Gibson, a Wiradjuri and Mununjali man on his father and mother’s side, and now living in Blacktown, on Darug country.
Mark Gibson and Roslyn Jackson at the Mt Druitt referendum Yarn-Up event in NSW. (Image credit: Kirstie Parker / The Uluru Dialogue).
“I found the Yarn-Up session really great; it was very informative. Previously I had understood most things about the Voice (but) there were a few things I did not know, so it was very informative.
“Today was mainly a session with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It’s very important that we all come together to ask questions. (There were) a few misconceptions about the Voice to Parliament among those who attended, but those questions were answered today. It made it very clear about where we’re heading.
“I believe there is enough information out there; people have to go looking for it. There’s more information coming out on social media, through websites and on some of the news outlets as well. If you head to the Uluru Statement’s website and the Yes23 campaign’s website, there’s enough information there, too.
“A successful referendum result, I think, will unite all Australians. I think we’re moving forward. In my opinion, I believe that it’s going to create a better feeling for everyone.”
Dennis Cavanagh, Jack Gibson and Aquilina Pinto at the Mt Druitt Yarn-Up session. (Image credit: Kirstie Parker / The Uluru Dialogue)
Another deadly Mt Druitt Referendum Yarn-up attendee was Ann Flood, a Wiradjuri Ngiyampaa woman, born in Griffith in NSW and who is now living in Penrith on Darug Country.
“The Aboriginal people, the Torres Strait Islander people, need to be in the Constitution,” Ms Flood said.
“The Constitution is a founding document within this country. It is such a deficit that it’s taken so long for that inclusion to be made. The referendum is a chance for us to fix all of that and to give Aboriginal people, the Torres Strait Islander people, a Voice so that the government will listen to us.
“People have had the ear of government in all sectors of community, whether it’s the pharmacy guild, or the racing or the clubs. They all have the ear to the parliament and try to have an influence on any legislation that affects them. There’s no reason Aboriginal people shouldn’t be accorded the same benefits so that we have a Voice, so we can have a say about any legislation that’s going to come forward through the government which is going to have an impact on us.
“If you keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result, you’re not going to get one. This is an opportunity for us to change things. It’s time we all grew up and that we all voted yes and put the blight of history behind us.
“The Voice needs to be enshrined in the Constitution so that it cannot be easily disposed of. That’s happened too many times in our past; we’ve had advisory bodies, we’ve had structures in place and at a change of government, they’ve just wiped us out.
“Right across the country, Aboriginal people are going to have the opportunity to talk about their specific needs and requirements. “We’re not all one homogenous group; we come from different places, we have different needs and we’re in totally different spheres in some places. People in central Australia, for example, have different needs to those in the Sydney region, so it’s going to be very, very important to be able to accommodate that.
“I’m pretty elated by it all in the lead-up to the referendum; that we’re going to be given this opportunity to rectify so many wrongs, that we’re going to be able to move on and take a rightful place in the Constitution, and that that we’re going to have the opportunity to have our say.”