Broome Advertiser

It’s high time for our mob to have their say

- TALLULAH BIEUNDURRY Tallulah Bieundurry is a community outreach and education officer at Kimberley Community Legal Services.

WA State Election day approaches and now is the time to let our voices be heard. The right to vote is one of the most fundamenta­l human rights and civil liberties, and is considered the heart of democracy.

Democracy plays a huge role in how Aboriginal people live and survive. Historical­ly, decisions regarding tribes were dealt with by a council of men and women who made calls that everyone agreed on.

A threat to a tribe, including changes in weather, neighbouri­ng tribal conflict and lack of food was brought to the attention of the “Elders” of the tribe and they all agreed on a decision that best suited their group.

Today, we have a voting system, much like our ancestors and old people.

We have a say by voting for members of our communitie­s to represent us at local, State, and Federal levels, and we trust that these people will make decisions in our best interests.

Aboriginal people were officially given the right to vote in these elections in 1962, a fight that lasted hundreds of years.

However, Aboriginal people are underrepre­sented when it comes to election time.

This is largely due to a lack of enrolments with the Australian Electoral Commission.

Our voices can be better heard if we enrol and participat­e in election time.

I am a passionate voter. I was lucky enough to be well informed about my ability to have a say and to align myself with a political party that best suits my values.

We have been disempower­ed and disenfranc­hised. But now is the time to regain our voices and have a say.

Our election is scheduled for March 13 and you can enrol to vote or update your enrolment details at www.elections.wa.gov. au/enrol before February 11.

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