Professor Megan Davis: A “no” result can’t be how this ends
Uluru Dialogue Co-Chair Professor Megan Davis at the Adelaide in-conversation event. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uluru Dialogue)
Cobble Cobble woman and Co-Chair of the Uluru Dialogue, Professor Megan Davis, has shared her thoughts on what life will be like for First Nations people if Australia as a whole rejects the proposal of Indigenous recognition via a Voice to parliament at next month’s Constitutional Referendum.
Appearing at a special in-conversation in Adelaide, alongside her Co-Chair Pat Anderson AO and event host and Uluru Dialogue leader Kirstie Parker, Professor Davis said her thoughts in particular would turn towards the youngest First Nations people in the event of a “no” result.
“We’ve done so much over 20 years to get to where we are. I think about our little jarjums, in kindy and in primary school, where they sing Aboriginal songs, and they know Aboriginal language and where they’ve learnt the Aboriginal footprint where they are born on and study on.
“There are all of these little kids growing up in a really diverse and inclusive Australia and they're learning about their Aboriginal footprint.
“I was saying to my team just tonight, as a constitutional lawyer, structural reform is really important. I did my PhD on how constitutional empowerment of Indigenous peoples allows women's voices to flourish. It is about the right to self-determination for women and how constitutional reform is really critical for women.
“And then I'm looking at my nieces and nephews the other day and wondering, ‘What is it going to be like for them to turn up on the 16th of October at school if it’s a ‘no’ result?
“They're going to feel utterly rejected by a nation, who says to us, ‘you don't belong’.
“I saw their little chests puffed out with their little ‘Vote Yes’ placards marching in Brisbane recently; they were so proud of themselves. That day was such a beautiful, joyous occasion to be among other Aussies who feel the same way.
“The country cannot recover from a loss at this referendum. You cannot go back to the way things are.
“There's a lot of corporate mob coming up and saying to me, ‘You know, whatever happens … it'll be … and I'm like, ‘No, no, it doesn't work that way.’
“But what we saw at the Walk for Yes marches, that's Australia.
“I don't think for a second we're going to lose. That is not who we are as a country. That is not my country. It does not end like that.”
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