Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaking at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Thursdau night. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uluru Dialogue)
CO-CHAIRS OF THE Uluru Dialogue, Pat Anderson AO and Professor Megan Davis were joined by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the final event of their national in-conversation tour on the importance of the Voice to Parliament.
Hosted by Uluru Dialogues leader Kirstie Parker, the Co-Chairs of the only First Nations-run YES campaign have also been talking about their book “Voices From The Heart” on their capital cities tour, which focusses on the Regional Dialogues process leading up to the first reading of the Uluru Statement from the Heart in May 2017.
Introduced to the audience at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mr Albanese said he keeps a copy of the Uluru Statement on the wall of his Parliamentary office.
Kirstie Parker, Pat Anderson AO and Professor Megan Davis in-conversation at the Voices From The Heart event in Brisbane. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uluru Dialogue)
“It is just one page; you can keep it in a frame on the wall,” he said to raucous laughter.
“Such an economy of words, but such a generosity of spirit. It says in part, ‘when we have power over our destiny, our children will flourish; they will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country’.
“The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a gift to our country,” Mr Albanese said.
“It’s an invitation to all Australians, to all of us. And the referendum is the response to that invitation, to the hand out-stretched from the first Australians, just asking for it to be met in the way that Australians greet each other.
“It’s an invitation to say YES to recognition in the form of a non-binding advisory committee. That's all it is. Because listening will result in better outcomes.
“We know that it will have the power of its ideas to parliament and government so that we can achieve better results when it comes to closing the gap, where we know that only four out of the 19 Closing the Gap targets are on track,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister and Uluru Dialogue Co-Chairs spoke to a packed house in Brisbane. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uluru Dialogue)
During the in-conversation section of the evening, Uluru Dialogue Co-Chair Professor Davis said the result of the referendum would determine what kind of country the nation has chosen to be.
“If we wake up on the 15th and the result of the referendum is a no, it's an endorsement of the status quo,” she said.
“It's an endorsement of our powerlessness. You're never going to get the opportunity to have this again.
“The Constitution is about structure. When we talk about the torment of our powerlessness in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, well, power for us resides in that Constitution.
“What we're asking for is a right to make representations on matters that affect our people. There's no reciprocal obligation of the state to respond. However, as a lot of Australians are coming to accept, it is a start - an enshrined Voice to Parliament. It mandates us having a seat at the table.”
Uluru Dialogue Co-Chair Ms Anderson said it was a transformative time for Australia, and that plenty of questions about the nation will be answered following the referendum.
“The whole nation can change, here. The referendum will tell us after the 14th what kind of society we are: what are our values? What do we stand for, and who are we in the world today? It's a good time to reflect,” Ms Anderson said.
“I think sometimes some Australians don't feel comfortable with discussing Indigenous issues. We want that to end and for Aussies to stop thinking about Australia as a British colony and start thinking of it as a mature, sophisticated nation.
“We need to stop thinking about our country as an outstation of England, because we’re not, and we kind of haven't been for a long time,” she said.