35 Moments of doing Better

Five things to know about the Voice to Parliament

Sally Scales, who is part of the leadership team for the Uluru Dialogues, shares her views.

1. The Uluru Statement from the Heart was an invitation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to all Australians.
“On a very human level, it was an invitation to walk with us. And when you get an invitation you have to say yes or no.”

2. The Voice is a seat at the table.
“The way I explain it is, the Voice gets us to the table. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have always been talked about, discussed; the ideas flow from our capital cities, but they don't actually involve us…Having a Voice is actually allowing us to sit around that table and say, ‘Hey, this policy is not going to work out here. We've already got something similar. Let's help that. And what might work over in another part of the country might not work here.’ It’s actually acknowledging that there are differences in our communities – regional, remote and urban communities.”

3. Not all First Nations peoples need to agree on the Voice.
“I find this notion that minority groups have to be one harmonious group interesting. No, we don't…I think that's a privilege we have as Australians. It's a privilege that we get to be in a democracy, that we have these different views…It goes back to what our fundamental rights are. We're allowed to disagree. We're allowed to have considered approaches in different ways. We are living in a democracy. We can have our own opinions on different things.”

4. Ask yourself, what are you voting for?
“For me, I'm voting for my future, but I'm also voting for my son’s future. I'm voting for a future where Aboriginal children have their basic rights and necessities looked at; that they can have not just the status quo, but they can say, ‘No, I want to be more than a footballer, more than an artist.’...I really am hopeful for the chance for communities on the ground to have an easier pathway.”

5. Australian businesses have a role to play.
“What we've learned in the last six years is that Australian businesses are a lot more willing to hear the voices of everyday communities and actually are very in touch with what's going on on the ground…We saw that in the marriage equality plebiscite, how important it was for companies and businesses to come out and say, I see you, I hear you. And it's the same with companies saying, I see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, I see what they're trying to do and we're going to support that. We have to remember that the Uluru Statement was an invitation to all. And so for the business sector, it's actually saying, ‘I'm taking this invitation. I'm standing in this line. We're putting our leadership to the test and saying, this is the right thing to do.’ Businesses have always played a really important part in the changes that we see.”


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