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Community sessions on Voice continue the dialogue throughout Far North Queensland

Joseph Guenzler -

The Uluru Dialogue and FNQ Voice Team have began holding another round of information sessions on the Voice, giving communities the opportunity to pose any questions they may have.

The sessions led by Wamba Wamba man and Uluru Dialogue leader Eddie Synot and Kuku Yalanji man and Uluru Dialogue representative Alwyn Lyall are being held accross Kuranda, Atherton, Cooktown, Mossman, LAURA Festival, Cairns, Ingham, Innisfail and Mareeba.

Designed to give local communities access to information about the Voice and upcoming referendum, these sessions are part of the Uluru Dialogue's ongoing commitment to raising awareness of the coming referendum for a First Nations Voice at a community level.

With a number of sessions under his belt, Mr Lyall shared his thoughts on how the sessions have been going.

"The attitude I'm finding out there is there's still lot's of support for the voice, but because of what Peter Dutton and Warren Mundine have been doing it's certainly muddied the waters," he said.

"There's certainly a lot of questions to answer, which is good - that's what it's all about."

Mr Lyall has provided some great insight about the stark reality of being and Indigenous person in Australia.

"There's 27 million people in Australia and only 17 million are eligible to vote, there are only 750 thousand Aboriginals yet we are still the most incarcerated people. We have more homeless people than anybody and we have more overcrowding than anybody else," he said.

"20-30 years ago, nobody was sitting in the park - we all had work, so what's happened?

"The government has made us dependent on the welfare system and all the rest. I'm sick of sitting as a fringe dweller on the edge."

Mr Lyall notes some significant and direct benefits of the voice saying "Let's lift the intervention over the Northern Territory. Let's let those mob that are stuck in Darwin and Katherine and Alice, they need to go home."

"The only reason why they're in those towns because the intervention chased them out of their own communities," he said.

"For us in 2023, we need to see our mob playing a more active role in society."

"Things are changing and this Voice stuff can only do better for Aboriginal Australia and Australia in general. This Voice is another door that can provide opportunities for our mob."

"But we've got still gatekeepers, keeping those doors locked for us and unfortunately some of our own mob are part of their gatekeeping crap. If the voice was to fail, the racist elements that lurk in the Coalition party, and those racist followers should be called out in front of the world for their racist behaviors.

"Racist people still control Australia if we don't get the Voice up."

Mr Lyall notes a process that will arise from the Voice referendum passing.

"The Voice will strengthen the treaty argument, the voice will strengthen truth telling in the schools but if we dont have a voice, the government can walk away from treaty whenever they feel that the conversation is too hard."

Find the upcoming community sessions below. The team encourages anyone, regardless of their view, to attend and be open to creating a dialogue.

LAURA Festival - Friday 7 July to Sunday 9 July

JCU Smithfield, Room: A004-130, 1/14-88 McGregor Road, Smithfield Cairns - Monday 10 July – 6:00pm to 8:00pm

TYTO Conference and Events Centre, 73-75 Mcilwraith St, Ingham - Tuesday 11 July – 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Innisfail Shire Hall, 4/70 Rankin St, Innisfail - Wednesday 12 July – 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Mareeba, Mulungu, Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Primary Health Care Service, 162-164 Walsh St, Mareeba - Thursday 13 July – 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Douglas Shire NAIDOC Market Stall, George Davis Park, Mossman - Friday 14 July – 10:30am.

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