As this one did. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island friends are advised this post contains images and voices of people who have passed.
In Cronulla in 1967 I voted YES in that referendum. It was the first year that I had the vote too.
I met her twenty years later at a Politics in the Pub night at the Harold Park Hotel in Sydney. Had quite a chat with her. Lovely person.
For many of us, especially me, 1988 brought revelation and reflection. I marched with these people on Australia Day 1988:
Promises were made that year, and while there was progress one major promise was not kept.
Another great moment. I missed this one, though I lived not far away!
Challenges upon challenges remained — but there was also progress.
I was in this crowd at The Block in Redfern in February 2008:
At least 1,000 people stood in the pouring rain at Redfern’s famous Block and watched on the big screen as Kevin Rudd moved the motion of Apology. I would not have missed it for quids!
Next to me an Aboriginal woman in her thirties or forties, her tears blending with the rain.
Cheers and a standing ovation greeted Kevin Rudd’s speech.
We didn’t get to hear the middle section of Dr Nelson’s speech as at that point the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, was speaking to us live.
However, the symbolism near the end of Rudd and Nelson jointly presenting to the Speaker the gift from the Stolen Generations spoke to all our hearts.
Yes there have been problems and reverses since then — many disappointments, wrong paths taken, targets not attained. But there were many who dared to hope and to find ways to make the dream of reconciliation a reality. The great meeting at Uluru was one such rime.
And yesterday at the Garma Festival our Prime Minister spoke words of hope but also of a practicable plan. A great day.
“Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?”
YES! YES! YES!
Exactly as I supported in 1967 in the first referendum I could vote in the proposition made there. As did almost every person in Australia! The Prime Minister did address the doubts of those who say they are tired of mere symbolism — which includes quite a few conservatives both “white” and Indigenous. Essentially he said walking and chewing gum at the same time is perfectly possible, that working towards a Voice to Parliament does not preclude reforms that have practical impacts on lives. In fact, a Voice would ensure that such practical reforms are more likely to be better targeted as a result of a Voice.
“Respectfully, purposefully we are seeking to secure support for the question and the associated provisions in time for a successful referendum, in this term of parliament.
“If not now, when.” Mr Albanese said.
The PM is also calling on the Opposition and the cross-bench to embrace the proposal and throw their support behind the government.
Let me share one comment that just appeared on ABC Online:
Weeping with relief and hope for this beloved Country. RESPECT and LOVE
– Margaret Healy