Time to Listen: An Indigenous Voice to Parliament (In the National Interest) (Paperback)

Time to Listen: An Indigenous Voice to Parliament (In the National Interest) By Lynette Russell, Melissa Castan Cover Image

Time to Listen: An Indigenous Voice to Parliament (In the National Interest) (Paperback)


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In 2023, debate about an Indigenous Voice to Parliament swirls around us as Australia heads towards a referendum on amending the Constitution to make this Voice a reality. The idea of a ‘ First Nations Voice’ was famously raised in 2017, when Indigenous leaders drafted the Statement from the Heart— also known as the Uluru Statement. It was envisioned as a representative body, enshrined in the Constitution, that would advise federal parliament and the executive government on laws and policies of significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. But while Indigenous people may finally get their Voice, will it be heard?

In Time to Listen, Melissa Castan and Lynette Russell explore how the need for a Voice has its roots in what anthropologist WEH Stanner in the late 1960s called the ‘ Great Australian Silence’ , whereby the history and culture of Indigenous Australians have been largely ignored by the wider society. This ‘ forgetting’ has not been incidental but rather an intentional, initially colonial policy of erasement. So have times now changed? Is the tragedy of that national silence— a refusal to acknowledge Indigenous agency and cultural achievements— finally coming to an end? And will the Makarrata Commission, which takes its name from a Yolngu word meaning ‘ peace after a dispute’ , become a reality too, overseeing truth-telling and agreement-making between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians?

The Voice to Parliament can be a transformational legal and political institutional reform, but only if Indigenous people are clearly heard when they speak.
Lynette Russell AM is an ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Professor at Monash University’ s Indigenous Studies Centre. Her Aboriginal ancestors were born on the lands of the Wotjobaluk people, and she is descended from convicts on the other side of her family; she is rather uniquely placed as an historian. All of her work is deeply interdisciplinary and collaborative. She is the author or editor of fifteen volumes, with several more in train, and she is the only Australian scholar to be elected to both the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Anthropological Institute, both in London. Melissa Castan is a Professor at the Monash Law Faculty and the Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law. Her family were ‘ new Australians’ , refugees from persecution in Eastern Europe who came to Australia seeking safety and the opportunity to build new lives in what they were told was a ‘ new nation’ . She is a legal academic working in the realm of human rights, public and constitutional law, with a focus on opportunities for the recognition and implementation of proper legal relations with First Nations people.
Product Details ISBN: 9781922979124
ISBN-10: 1922979120
Publisher: Monash University Publishing
Publication Date: January 1st, 2024
Pages: 96
Language: English
Series: In the National Interest