NSW Parliament endorses Uluru Statement from the Heart
In a symbolic moment for reconciliation the NSW Parliament has today formally supported the “Uluru Statement from the Heart.” The motion was moved by Greens MP David Shoebridge and all parties in Parliament today agreed to work in good faith to deliver the statements’ principles and intentions.
This should be the start of political action that sets up a Makarrata Commission, ensures genuine self-determination and establishes a treaty with our first peoples.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart was delivered by the 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, leaders and activists at the conclusion of last week’s 2017 National Constitutional Convention.
Greens MP and Aboriginal Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“It is hard not to be moved by the emotion and sincerity found in the Uluru Statement of the Heart. As Parliamentarians it is now our job to put this rhetoric into action.
“It is really heartening to see all parties coming together to support this important moment in reconciliation.
“This should be the start of political action that sets up a Makarrata Commission, ensures genuine self-determination and establishes a treaty with our first peoples.
“Whatever nonsense is happening federally, it is great that the NSW Parliament has started to work together on this.
“The Uluru Statement from the Heart shows us a path towards a treaty and justice for our first peoples.” Mr Shoebridge said.
The motion as passed by Parliament:
Mr Shoebridge says—
I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move:
- That this House welcomes the fact that:
- more than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, leaders and activists met at Uluru at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention to discuss how to deliver justice to Australia’s first peoples, and
- That the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ was delivered at the conclusion of that meeting in the following terms:
ULURU STATEMENT FROM THE HEART
We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs.
This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.
This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.
How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?
With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient
sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.
These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.
We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.
In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.
That this House calls on all political parties in in this Parliament to work in good faith with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to deliver on the principles and intentions found in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.