Contributed by Jim Hayes
A survey by the Australian National University found that a large majority of Australians continue to back constitutional recognition of Australia’s first peoples, and that they also support progress in truth telling and in a process towards treaty.
If this result is true, it answers the accusation that the recent Voice referendum no vote is the result of a rise of racist wave of the Australian population. Rather than this, many of those who voted no believed that this way was not the answer.
The survey found that 87 percent said First Nation peoples should have a voice or say over matter that affect them, and 76 percent saw that they should have a voice on key policies and decisions. This is far more than the Voice proposal offered.
Especially telling is that 61.7 percent said that they would vote yeas in a referendum on recognition. Bigger proportion, 78.4 percent felt that the federal government should help to improve conciliation, ,80.5 percent that a formal truth telling process should proceed, and 29.1 percent felt proud of First Nations cultures.
The extraordinary and positive result of this survey indicates that the conditions to move forward are good. All the more reason why the division between the yes and no voters should be ended. Both camps mostly want the same the same outcomes in the main. This is time to build unity.
Photo from the Conversation
Progress can be made on the real content of the Uluru statement from the Heart’s call for voice, treaty, and truth. We can join together on this, and as we do this, clarify, and strengthen what we mean.
Voice means that Frist Nations have listened to and have the right to take a central place in decision making on policies and laws that directly affect them and empowers them to be masters of their own destiny.
Treaty is a vehicle through which agreement is reached on which Fist Nations stand as equals to non-indigenous Australia, guarantees their sovereignty and control over their own affairs, and a fair share of resources.
Truth is about recognition of the true history where First Nations people who were here before British colonisation had their land taken, rights abused, faced genocide, and that this has continued in the form of institutionalised racism and deprivation.
Application of the three parts of the Uluru Statement will help to address a long list of wrongs, such as poverty, deaths in custody, the extremely high levels of imprisonment, the appalling state and decline of services. It will help overcome continuing negatives coming from non-indigenous Australia.
Isn’t this worth striving for? Won’t this make Australia a better place for all of us to live in?