Please know, as you read this, I’m not trying to change your mind. And I’m not going to get on a soap-box, or get all ranty. I’m just going to say why I’m going to do what I’m going to do, when it comes to the referendum. And why. I want to tell you a story…
I was working at a school the day after Kevin Rudd’s Apology. I listened to it on the radio – I thought it was a great speech. But I wasn’t prepared for what happened the next day. At the particular school I was at, there were a lot of Indigenous kids. And they were SO excited. SO proud. They were tall, and seemed to be physically bigger. Because what had been said, for them and their mob, was huge. For them, it wasn’t just a speech. It was a validation.
I was at another school when the conference was happening that created the Uluru Statement from the Heart. And there was a girl in year 6 who had family there. She was hugely excited at what was going on. At the change that she thought would happen. The fact that her family was going to help her country. She was proud of who she was.
I still work with Indigenous kids. Lots of them. And I see that many times they don’t feel proud of who they are. Their little lives are hard. They don’t stand up straight. And so I will be voting yes. Not for me. But for them. To validate them. To let them know that I stand with them. And they are important. Because they are the future of this country.
I have listened to the people who say we should vote no. That there’s lack of detail. That this will divide things further. But I see something else. I see kids who want hope. And I will try and give it to them.
You can do what you think is the right thing to do. And I will respectfully agree, or disagree. But for my little friends, I will be voting yes. I will do it with them at the front of my mind.