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Electing eight Aboriginal women to parliament is one of Australia's greatest achievements

Guest Author -

As an Aboriginal Australian, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunty, niece and a proud Yamatji and Noongar woman, and the first Aboriginal women elected to any Parliament in Australia, I can tell you that seeing the eight Aboriginal Women in the Federal Parliament is one of the greatest achievements of our voting system, coupled with the determination to be heard and the need to change the nations perception of our people a great achievement.

As I see it these women in the parliament are a part of a new era of politics in Australia, an era whereby the two-party system that has been replaced by a strong voice of Australian citizens who no longer subscribe to Einstein's theory of the definition of insanity; doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different outcome".

So for the record, changing the process, and recognising the primacy of Indigenous people is one of the most important issue of our time, and these women, Linda Burney, Marion Scrymgour, Jana Stewart, Malarndirri, McCarthy, Victoria Lidia Thorpe, Dorinda Cox, and Jacinta Nampijinpa Price are all winners in an exciting new era of politics, whereby the time is right to make a difference for our people and our community.

They are not all in the same parties, but they are members of the oldest living culture in the world, an exclusive club so to speak.

Across the parties and with more in common than at odds, I believe the new era will herald the changes we have been fighting for, for many years.

Constitutional recognition, in terms of securing our place in our land, ensuring that the big political issues are respectful of our primacy, culture, traditions, lore, and laws.

The mandate is set by the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs.

This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the creation, according to the common law from time immemorial, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.

This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or Mother Nature, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born there from, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors.

This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.

With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia's nationhood.

Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates.

This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.

These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.

We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country.

When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish.

They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.

We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.

Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle.

It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.

We seek a Makarrata commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we sought to be heard.

I wish in my time in parliament I had as clear a charter as this. Again I congratulate all of those amazing Aboriginal women who were elected and support them in their endeavours to make the difference we need for our people.

For the new parliament, I celebrate the Labor win, and recognise the hard journey ahead, a nation commencing recovery, after bushfires, floods, supply issues, cost of living, fuel prices so high and a global pandemic, that has not yet run its course.

I am confident that the Labor party will act with decency, honesty, respect and a fair go I dealing with our nation's recovery, and the global issues that plague us.

Congratulations you amazing Aboriginal women, and to the man the media wanted everyone to believe wasn't worthy of the top job.

Bwaaaah gnoorn to the media and what a great win Anthony (Albanese), you are where you were meant to be, and you will do what those who do know you, also know you will do well.

A true unapologetic statesman and a genuine leader.

Yamatji woman Carol Martin is the former State member for the Kimberley and was the first Aboriginal woman elected to any Australian parliament.


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