OPINION: For a better future Opinion Property/Sports/Opinion - popup ad by News Of The Area - Modern Media - October 9, 2023 DEAR News Of The Area, INDIGENOUS Australians have advocated for a long time for constitutional recognition, after over two centuries of dispossession, harm and serious inequities. Following extensive regional dialogues, the Uluru statement from the heart was created by Indigenous people from first nations across the country. This gifts Australians the way for establishing a right and just relationship with Indigenous people for protection of their culture and connection to country. For many Indigenous people and communities, government policies on health, education, employment, housing and social wellbeing have not been effective in meeting their needs on a par with other Australians. This is evidenced by the July 2023 ’closing the gap’ progress report, where only four out of fifteen of these measures have made some progress and the rest are not on track with four going backwards, particularly the disproportionate high incarceration rates for adults, children and young people. These policies are not working. Evidence has demonstrated in numerous research reports and program studies in Australia and globally that people’s lives improve when they have a say. The proposed voice to parliament gives first nations people a say on policies and laws that impact on them, utilising Indigenous wisdom, experience and expertise, for parliament to consider. The voice can benefit all Australians with a journey to more meaningful reconciliation, listening and dialogue, better outcomes for Indigenous people and an increasing respect and celebration of Indigenous culture and traditions. Australia can also stand taller in the global community. It’s a big call for everyone on referendum day. A no vote means that first nations people are not listened to, and will have more of the same. For me a yes vote is the right thing to do. Regards, Phil CONNOR, Coffs Harbour.