Inner West Independent

Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney kicks off Uluru Statement campaign at Marrickville

Uluru Statement forum

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Linda Burney addressed the Inner West on the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Photo: Facebook.

By LILA PIERCE

The Inner West recently held a packed forum addressing the Uluru Statement from the Heart at Marrickville Town Hall on June 18, with key speakers including Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney and Labor Senator Patrick Dodson. 

Hosting the forum was Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne, joined by the Director of the From the Heart campaign Dean Parkin. Cheree Toka, who headed the campaign to permanently fly the Aboriginal Flag over the Harbour Bridge, also spoke at the forum.

The forum aimed to encourage participants to become involved in the upcoming referendum to enshrine Indigenous voices into Parliament, as introduced by Prime Minster Anthony Albanese during his inaugural speech. 

Indigenous Affairs Minister receives standing ovation

Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney encouraged the audience to “be loud and proud” noting that the Statement from the Heart campaign marks “an incredibly generous invitation to the Australian people to walk together with First Nations people”. 

“The journey begins here in Marrickville” Ms Burney said. 

Linda Burney addressing the forum. Photo: Facebook.

Ms Burney also highlighted the important role local government can play in ensuring a successful campaign by praising the “socialist republic of Marrickville” for hosting the event. She received a standing ovation at the closing of her speech.  

Dean Parkin, director of the From the Heart campaign, emphasised the practical applications of the Statement from the Heart. He implored event-goers to “Read it, and read it again”.

“It’s the fair thing to do” Mr Parkin said. “We’ve got to see a practical change in bringing the country together, to unify the nation around something, to genuinely move us forward as a nation”.

Inner West Council lends support to referendum

Greens Councillor Marghanita Da Cruz said she felt the evening represented “a very generous invitation, to which our community must rise”.

She pointed out that the packed event indicated “people are very interested, and they want to understand how they can get involved”.

In speaking with City Hub, she emphasised the significance of the Inner West Council’s official Reconciliation Action Plan that is currently exhibiting for public comment until June 22nd.

Da Cruz stated that “it’s time for the people to act, and the politicians will follow”. 

Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne pledged his support to train 1,000 members of the local community to advocate for the referendum campaign. He stated that “with the election of the Albanese Labour Government we now have a historic opportunity to deliver the Uluru statement in full” adding that “it’s time for voice, treaty and truth”.

During the evening’s Q&A session, Senator Dodson fielded a commonly asked question: “How will the referendum work?”

Mr Dodson emphasised the long road ahead through reflections on historical progress. He noted that achieving a nationwide referendum is “not an easy task” while highlighting the conservative nature of the Referendum Act and the importance of garnering consensus across all jurisdictions.

“What is needed is the majority of voters, in the majority of states”. 

The event was broadcast via live stream, which was recorded and available here.

 

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