Interview

True Community Consultation on Uluru Statement From The Heart

Thomas Mayor (kneeling) and community with Uluru Statement from the Heart

A National Consensus

We have a national consensus that came out of a structured process… This is something that all Australians can get behind.

Thomas Mayor

Secretary, Northern Territory, Maritime Union of Australia

This is the lead in to the story. Best to keep it to just a couple of sentences so it doesn’t get too “heavy” located up here at the top of the story.

by Charles Pakana

For Thomas Mayor, one of the 250 Australian First Nations people who took part in the historic Uluru Statement from the Heart, the Australian Federal Government’s dismissal of the Statement’s main call was a trigger for action.

As Secretary for the Northern Territory branch of the Maritime Union of Australia, Mr. Mayor is all too aware of the need to garner support through grassroots actions. So it was that soon after the Government’s announcement that it would not consider a First Nations voice to Parliament, he took to the road to educate Australians and seek support.

“It’s absolutely wrong that we’re calling for a third chamber of parliament,” Mr Mayor said. “The envisioned body is a representative body of First Nations that would be able to give advice to Parliament and bureaucrats about decisions being made about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

The Prime Minister’s own electorate

In May this year, Mr. Mayor and his team took their message to the very heartland of conservatism – the Prime Minister’s own electorate of Wentworth.

“Everyone we spoke to – even those who hadn’t heard about this [the Uluru Statement from the Heart] – all signed a pledge,” Mr. Mayor said. “Many were disgusted that it had been ignored in this way.”

According to Mr. Mayor, bringing about real change by following through with the Statement calls for a bipartisan approach – a people’s movement. “We have a national consensus that came out of a structured process,” he said.

“This is something that all Australians can get behind.”

Note: Mr. Mayor is developing a model/framework that can be used by community members and groups to gain support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart (see link below). 

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