Corey Smith is a Ngemba man and lawyer. He has worked in corporate, NGOs and academia including at the Centre for Social Impact. He currently coordinates Towards Truth, a first of its kind truth-telling project that maps laws and policies that have impacted First Nations people since 1788. Corey is deeply committed and passionate about social change for Indigenous communities.
Why the Voice Matters
The Voice is a substantial but reasonable proposal that can change our country for the better.
In my day-to-day work on truth-telling, I frequently see how our lives as First Nations people are intimately tied in with government. Children taken, languages decimated, land ripped from our feet. Our lives have been controlled for centuries and we weren’t even allowed to participate in the democratic process that legalised all of that. What’s worse, the injustices continue today. It’s true, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
It’s 2023 and we have children being thrown into prisons and people without access to fresh water, housing, healthcare, or education. Can we please wake up and stop this madness?
The Uluru statement is the answer we have been waiting for. The Voice is a step in the right direction, and it will give Parliament the best information from communities to make a practical difference in areas such as health, education, criminal justice, and housing. The Voice matters because we have gone too long without having a say on laws and policies that directly impact us. It matters because we are the most incarcerated people on the planet and racism is still alive in this country. It matters because it will lead to better outcomes. It will also put Treaty and Truth on the table.
When I caught up with my Dad the other week, who is a mad Midnight Oil fan, we spoke about how ‘the time has come’ for the Voice. This referendum is a nation-building moment. We are choosing hope over hate, and we need you to walk with us if we’re ever going to solve these issues that are running rampant in this country. It’s in our reach to do that. The opportunity to vote “Yes” is too important to miss.
This piece represents the author’s personal views and does not necessarily represent the views of the organisations with which they are associated.