FAQ 101

   - Why is the Aboriginal Voice so important

The video titled 'FAQ 101 - Why is the Aboriginal Voice so important?' delves into the significance of recognizing and amplifying the Aboriginal voice in Australia. It begins by tracing the historical context, highlighting the misconception held by British colonial settlers in 1788, who viewed Australia as an empty land, a belief termed Terra Nullius. This initial disregard for the Aboriginal people's presence set the tone for generations of neglect.

Despite a 60,000-year-old civilization and profound skills in surviving the Australian landscape, the British colonial settlers largely ignored the richness of Aboriginal culture due to cultural differences. The video also touches upon the forced removal of Aboriginal people from their lands into reserves and missions by the colonial government, illustrating a paternalistic approach that failed to consult or consider Aboriginal perspectives.

The video progresses to discuss the Australian Constitution, which, despite taking eight years to write, did not acknowledge the original inhabitants of the land. It established the federal government's form and its relationship with states but excluded an Aboriginal voice. Subsequently, the video highlights policies of assimilation in the early 1900s that aimed to eradicate Aboriginal culture, causing significant trauma among Indigenous communities.

The video's narrative shifts to 1967 when Australians voted to amend the Constitution, recognizing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as part of the population. This marked a turning point, with over 90% of Australians voting in favor, supported by religious groups and churches that had previously played a role in Aboriginal removal. Fast forward to 2023, and major churches, along with other faiths, continue to support the Aboriginal Voice to Parliament.

The establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in 1972 outside the Federal Parliament in Canberra signifies ongoing Indigenous support for the Aboriginal Voice. It symbolizes the struggle for social justice and self-determination and emphasizes the importance of meaningful Indigenous engagement in shaping national policies.

The video also mentions the establishment of various advisory bodies, like the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee (NACC) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC). These bodies aimed to advise the government on Indigenous issues but faced challenges in genuine Indigenous representation and were eventually disbanded due to governance issues.

The video closes by highlighting the worsening statistics for Indigenous communities, such as higher rates of type 2 diabetes, unemployment, and a shorter life expectancy compared to the national average. To address these disparities, the Aboriginal Voice to Parliament aims to establish local Aboriginal voice committees across states, offering a responsive approach to address diverse regional needs.

Ultimately, the recognition of the Aboriginal Voice to Parliament is seen as crucial in the constitution, as it acknowledges a people with a millennia-old heritage and provides a structured mechanism for involving Aboriginal people in shaping policies and decisions that directly impact their lives, marking a monumental step forward in recognizing and addressing the needs of Australia's Indigenous population.

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14 October 2023

Tag 1
Aboriginal Spirituality

Tag 2
Social Justice

Tag 3
Act Local

Source Name
Marist Laity Australia

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