Kirstie Parker, Professor Megan Davis and Pat Anderson AO on stage at The Edge at Fed Square in Melbourne. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uuru Dialogue)
Pat Anderson AO and Professor Megan Davis have begun their multi-city tour of the country to discuss the Voice to Parliament and Constitutional Recognition with Australians.
The Co-Chairs of The Uluru Dialogue began their country-wide journey by visiting two of Melbourne’s most important and iconic locations.
Early on Monday, Professor Davis was a keynote speaker at “History is Calling”, a Flagship Event hosted by Monash University.
Professor Megan Davis delivered a keynote speech at Monash University in Melbourne. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uluru Dialogue)
Later that night she was joined by Ms Anderson and Uluru Dialogue leader Kirstie Parker for an intriguing in-conversation event at The Edge at Federation Square, where they covered everything from Megan and Pat’s early lives and motivations, their thoughts on the media’s coverage of the referendum to date, as well as their thoughts and wishes as the national vote draws closer.
“There is nothing to be lost and everything to be gained from Constitutional Recognition through an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice,” Professor Davis said at the Monash University event.
“The Uluru Statement was the result of a huge amount of work, dialogue and discussion.
“Throughout 2016 and 2017, Regional Dialogues were held all around this country in 12 different locations: from Ross River, to Darwin, to Broome, to the Torres Strait. In every major city, too.
“Those dialogue sessions asked First Nations people: what is meaningful recognition to you in your region?
“People met all around this country. Mob talked with mob. They were emotional conversations. They were deliberative. And they were productive.
“The sessions represented 1200 first nations people yarning with one another about what their concerns are. What change they wanted to see in their communities.
“What was ultimately produced from all of those conversations, and the National Convention which followed the Dialogues at Uluru in 2017, was the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
“The idea of symbolic Constitutional recognition was explicitly rejected.
“The Statement from the Heart named our priorities: Voice, agreement-making, Truth.
“The Dialogue process and the Uluru Statement from the Heart is a profound response to historical exclusion of First Nations people from the Australian constitutional system.
“What we are giving to all Australians is an offering of peace, of love. We are offering a way forward.
“The politicisation of this issue by the No campaign has been regrettable. It has been difficult and it has been damaging.
“The result is that there is a lot to be done to bring people back from the effects of the No campaign.
“We are asking you to help us do that.
“The questions that face us when deciding how to vote in the Referendum are:
“1. Do we want to be a country that recognises, that loves its first peoples? That is proud of our collective history? That gives us a say in matters that affect our lives?
“2. Or, do we wish to go on with the status quo?
“The status quo is a NO VOTE.
“It says it's okay that first nations people live lives of extreme disadvantage within a wealthy nation.
“That it's okay that we spend millions of dollars on report after report after report, all of which make strings of recommendations for improvements that are hardly ever implemented?
“Or do we want to be a country that gives everyone a fair go? Regardless of where you live and what your background is? A country which is prepared to try this Voice, this circuit-breaker? To give first nations people a seat at the table? To provide advice on matters that affect our lives?”