OPINION: Taught fear and hate

DEAR News Of The Area,

GROWING up in Australia in the 80s I was taught to fear and hate Aboriginal culture[s].

So I learnt to fear and hate the idea of the primitive, nomadic life of Aboriginal people.

I was taught that, for 10,000s of years Aboriginal people just walked about from place to place, without laws and with violence at the heart of Aboriginal culture[s].

I learnt to fear that, given half a chance, Aboriginal people would take Australia back to that violent and primitive life.

I’ve carried this fear through my adolescence and my adult life.

But now I see that the lies about Aboriginal cultures don’t pass the pub test.

For 60,000-plus years human beings have lived on this continent with laws, agriculture and settlements.

But my fears have remained.

During the Mabo decision, I was taught to fear Aboriginal people taking ‘my’ backyard and house.

Now, I’m being asked to fear ‘the voice of division’ and vote no in the Voice to Parliament referendum.

I’m being asked to fear ‘the loss of sovereignty and vote no’.

Don’t come the raw prawn with me mate!

I’m being asked to fear the voice and how it will represent the views of so many Aboriginal nations in Australia.
And fear is an incredibly powerful emotion.

The Voice to Parliament is a petition from more than 1200 Aboriginal representatives across Australia through many regional dialogues.

Having created and nurtured the oldest continuing living cultures in the world, Aboriginal people have earned their right to have a say in matters that affect their communities.

So I’ll put my fear in its place and choose hope and kindness instead.

Because I want my kids to grow up respecting and valuing the gift of being invited to share the oldest living cultures on earth.

Instead of an Australia built on fear, I’m choosing hope and voting Yes to the Voice to Parliament.

Jean-Paul LEUNG,

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