Page 3744 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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this country and how we look after the community. I wholeheartedly welcome and commit myself to the calls made to all of us in this motion. I accept the invitation extended to me to walk with First Nations people, to walk together in a movement of Australian people for a better future.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee) (5.31): I wish to speak very briefly in support of Dr Paterson’s motion. With respect to that concept of Makarrata, of coming together after a struggle, firstly, we do acknowledge that, for too many people, that struggle continues. But those words walk with us. They are important. They are words that I have heard on so many occasions from voices that I listen to, that I learn from, that I want to understand and that I work to support—on issues of access to health care, housing, education, employment, experiences of trauma and violence, and on justice.

This is the work that I am committed to continuing, but I know that we can only make real progress on these things by working with our First Nations community. Sometimes there is disagreement about the detail of how we do things. It is very important, when we are having these conversations, that we keep in mind the wellbeing of people who are hearing the words that we say, and that we carefully choose the way in which we speak, the tone in which we speak and the language that we use, to ensure that we do not create more harm by having the conversation.

It is very hard to walk in a straight line with a crooked heart, and if your heart has been poisoned by fear and hurt, you will walk a path of anger; you will hoard what you should share and you will lock out people you should let in, because you can see only what might go wrong and not what is far more likely to go beautifully, wonderfully right. You have to fix the heart first, but once your heart is right and it is focused on love, compassion and kindness, your actions will follow the same way.

I am very thankful for the spirit of the invitation to Makarrata in the Uluru statement. I commit to supporting the referendum for a voice to parliament, alongside that work of truth and treaty.

I would like to finish by noting that Spinifex Gum recently recorded a song using the Yindjibarndi language to express the words “Come on and open up your heart” in support of this work.

DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (5.34): In closing, I would like to thank my Labor-Greens colleagues for their considered and thoughtful words this afternoon on this really important motion. We have highlighted the historical failings, and it is time for change. It is time to move forward. It is time for recognition in the Australian Constitution.

It is incredibly important that we use this opportunity and time before the referendum to platform Indigenous people’s voices and support them in this fight for recognition and empowerment. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been stripped of the right to control their destiny and make their own choices, stripped of their lands and their human rights. We must recognise the impacts of this colonisation that reverberate through our society today. We cannot escape this legacy of the past without grappling with our own history, and empowering and giving a voice to our Indigenous community.

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