What is the Uluru Statement from the Heart?
The Uluru Statement from the Heart was created during the First Nations National Constitutional Convention and released on 26 May 2017.The document represents a historic consensus of First Nations leaders in seeking constitutional change to recognise First Australians through a voice in parliament.
The debate over constitutional recognition has raged for years, but the Uluru Statement is the result of a collective agreement from the 250 Indigenous leaders who gathered together from across the country, and following engagement with more than 1200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives over a six-month period.
With the guiding principles of voice, treaty and truth, the Statement invites all Australians to join Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a movement for a better future, and calls for meaningful structural reforms to be made, including the establishment of a Voice to Parliament enshrined within the Constitution. While previous documents have petitioned Parliament, the Uluru Statement addresses all Australians.
The Voice to Parliament would give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people an opportunity to contribute to and influence the laws and policies that directly impact them, by establishing a permanent institution to provide advice to Parliament and Government.
The Statement and the agenda it represents calls for Makarrata, a concept belonging to the Yolngu people of north-east Arnhem Land that describes a coming together after a struggle in order to heal the divisions of the past. The Statement recommends the establishment of a Makarrata Commission to oversee the processes of agreement between the government and First Nations people.
As yet, the principles of the document, given in good faith and with high hopes, have not been enacted.You can read the Uluru Statement from the Heart and support its ideals at ulurustatement.org and fromtheheart.com.au