Heading to Larrakia country today as part of my lifelong pilgrimage around this land. I am reading Thomas Major’s Finding the Heart of the Nation as part of my preparation to go deeper with the Uluru Statement from the Heart and as I wing my way through the skies, I am moved to tears more than once which is disconcerting to my fellow travellers in row 15. Power is at the centre. The power of the Rock which I was able to visit just last week as well, and see it at dawn, at dusk and its silhouette in the night with the full moon rising behind it – even if you were not spiritual, it would be hard not to catch the still, steady, deep time presence of the land and the constellations above.
In preparation for this week ahead what power is, how it shows up, how it is recognised, how it is wielded and yielded is top of mind. I am a privileged white, educated, English speaking, awarded and recognised older women of settler stock. I am flying in and flying out of this land. I am coming together with others doing the same as we arrive at a place that is waiting for us. There are conversations waiting to come to life, and others that have been going so long whether we turn up for them or not does not really matter. We need more voices in the conversations from across time – past, present and future and I am musing on how I can tap into the quiet and emerging voices as well as not forgetting the ones embedded in the land and the annals of land rights, economic justice, environmental justice, and human rights.
From the 1938 Day of Mourning through to the rejection of the Uluru Statement by the then Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull in 2017 the waiting has been sustained by the voices, courage, and tenacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders. This waiting needs to end. It is time for the voices to be heard, for treaties to be signed, for truths to be told and a Makarrata. It is time for our constitution to be adjusted. It is time for a referendum.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart ended with an invitation to all of us to join in the process for a Voice to be enshrined into our constitution, not merely a legislative amendment, anything less would be devoid of the gravitas and vitality needed to right wrongs, heal and most importantly mature. We have a shared humanity, we walk on the same earth, we sleep under the same stars, we learn to walk, together. A Truth Commission to advise parliament, like the Productivity Commission has been suggested by leaders like Marcia Langton AM and my hunch is most Australians are up for it. A people’s movement that is being mobilised, in the cities, towns, regional and remote communities, signing up to the Uluru Statement and public sharing their support for the Statement. Politicians will follow when they think there are enough people to support it and it will not injure their political power. We need to mobilise for influence and look to each other, to our family and friends, co-workers, community actors and elect people to our councils, parliaments, boards, and governing authorities that will support the Statement and its goals. We can start from where we are – if we are parents there is your school governing council, if we are members of an association like a sporting club or professional body we can talk to them, if we are shareholders or customers we can start with the products we buy and let their boards know what we want to support, and then by the time it comes to be voters in our next round of municipal, state, territory and federal elections we will be able to tell those seeking our vote what is important to us what we have made happen already and what we want from them. Voice. Treaty. Truth. This is moment to be met.