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Central Land Council embraces 'Voice to Parliament' call

Joseph Guenzler -

The elected representatives of remote communities in Central Australia took time out of their council meeting near Uluru on Thursday to vote 'Yes' to a voice to parliament.

Central Land Council delegates who had not yet voted in their remote communities cast their votes at the very place where Aboriginal leaders from around the country voted on the Uluru Statement from the Heart in May 2017.

"I was here six years ago, when we invited Australians to join us on a journey towards voice, treaty and truth-telling," CLC delegate and Uluru traditional owner, Sammy Wilson, said after casting his vote in the building that hosted the Uluru Convention.

"Our council overwhelmingly voted Yes this morning because we know that when decision makers listen to our voices we end up with policies that help us, not harm us, and money is spent wisely."

CLC chair Matthew Palmer said: "The voice is our best hope in generations to turn our lives around."

"It won't come again in my lifetime, and I ask to you all to write Yes for all our children when you go into that voting booth."

Barbara Shaw, an executive member of the Central Land Council, was among the delegates at the Uluru Convention.

She has also been actively involved in addressing family violence in Alice Springs town camps through her work with the Tangentyere Women's Safety Group.

"I have waited all my life for this moment, but I'll wait a little longer so I can vote 'Yes' in my home town of Alice Springs on 14 October," Ms Shaw said.

"The No campaign of fear, scaremongering and lies has hurt and confused many, including Aboriginal people.

"It reminds me of John Howard's threats that people would lose their back yards if native title got up."

"I appeal to you to ignore the No camp's talk of war and focus on what's actually on the ballot – an advisory body to help us achieve outcomes together."

Ms Shaw extended a straightforward message of peace and unity, inviting others to join in creating a better future where families can coexist, and children can enjoy equal opportunities to play and grow.

Council members undertook a round-trip of some 20 kilometres from their meeting on the land trust surrounding Uluru to cast their votes at the resort town of Yulara.


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