Liberal member of the NSW upper house Aileen MacDonald has urged the people of New South Wales to vote “Yes” this Saturday based on the disadvantage of the First Nations community she saw in her previous role as a community corrections officer based in Armidale.
Ms MacDonald said she was inspired by the words of respected Anaiwan Elder, Steve Widders, who said the Voice is about recognising that the Aboriginal people have been here for a long time, and we need to hear from them.
“I was struck when Mr Widders said, ‘Nothing about us without us’, and that is what is at the heart of this referendum,” Ms MacDonald said.
“I have seen the disadvantage of my First Nation community and the over-representation of our First Nations brothers in the criminal justice system,” she said.
“First Nation people do not have a good relationship with police, health services housing and other such services because they are genuinely afraid they will be punished in some way, either by having their father taken away to jail or having their children taken to out-of-home care.”
Ms MacDonald said it is simply not right that our First Nations brothers are more likely to end up in prison than university.
“We talk a lot about Closing the Gap and yet here we are still implementing measures to close the gap, and nothing seems to change. A Yes vote will go some way to healing, not dividing,” she said.
“I have seen the disadvantage firsthand in my community from within community corrections. It is wrong and we have a chance to fix it.”
The referendum will be held on Saturday October 14.
Like what you’re reading? Support the New England Times to keep providing hyper-local news, for the New England and by the New England, pay wall free. Make a small contribution today.