As an elected independent councillor playing a role in local politics, I am disappointed by the politicisation of the referendum, which has led to twisted facts, scare campaigns, divisive narratives, and distractions. This situation does not help migrant communities, who now feel even more disconnected and unsure about this debate.
So, here is my message to other first-generation migrants like myself: As non-Aboriginal people, we do not have anything to lose from this constitutional change. It’s about recognising the importance of the First Nations people and their rightful place in the country’s history.
Also, the issue here (contrary to some narratives) is not about promoting one race as superior to others. Instead, it revolves around acknowledging the unique identity and indigeneity of First Nations people.
To be well-informed, ample information about how the Voice advisory body will function is readily available. More details will follow the parliamentary legislative process, where parliament will decide on the Voice model.
It’s also essential to remember that Indigenous communities are not homogenous. Like all communities, including those we find ourselves in, they too are diverse in many ways. While some Indigenous Australians may not support the Voice, the significant portion does, as shown by the 80 per cent Indigenous representation in the Uluru Statement.
To me, wearing all the different community and personal hats, choosing to support the referendum is about being on the right side of history and addressing a moral question that aligns with both heart and mind, leading me to a strong Yes vote.
Seema Abdullah is Australia’s first Pakistani-born Muslim migrant female councillor and the former mayor of Greater Shepparton.
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