As Director/CEO of ACMI (2015–22), Australia's National Museum of screen culture, located in Narrm (Melbourne) I am in full support of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We at ACMI proudly believe that First Peoples culture is at the centre of Australian culture. ACMI operates two sites on First Peoples’ land. The ACMI museum at Federation Square and ACMI X office at Southbank are situated on the lands of the Kulin Nation. ACMI acknowledges and respects the ongoing relationship that the Wurundjeri people, the Boon Wurrung people and other First Peoples Custodians have with their lands and waters. We also recognise that the First Peoples of Australia have used sound and image to tell stories for thousands of generations, from the use of light and shadow, to our contemporary screen culture. Their storytelling and creative practices are at the heart of our story of the moving image, and our living history. As an organisation, we are deeply committed to reconciliation, and celebrating the practice and perspectives of First Peoples.
Why do you think the Uluru Statement from the Heart is important?
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is vital and offers a clear pathway towards meaningful change and recognition of the need for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution. As a country, we can all benefit from constitutional change and structural reform to empower First Peoples with recognition and voice.
Why do you think it's important to enshrine the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution, rather than include it only in legislation?
Enshrining the Voice to Parliament in the Constitution is a very important distinction to make - without constitutional recognition, this change would not be fully protected and upheld, and could be ignored or even abolished by parliament. Furthermore, the majority of Australians support Constitutional recognition of First Peoples of this country. Constitutional enshrinement would establish legitimacy long into the future and send a powerful message of respect to all Australians that First Peoples have a right to be heard, acknowledged, and consulted on matters of national importance.
How could a Voice to Parliament improve the lives of your community?
An Indigenous Voice to Parliament would greatly improve the lives of all Australians. It is a crucial step towards equality and recognises that there is not just one perspective but many views and interests that need to be heard and recognised. First Peoples need a more sustainable way to provide advice, and input on matters that will improve their lives, and ACMI strongly supports this action.
Why is it important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them?
It has never been more important for Indigenous people to have a say in the matters that affect them, and to listen and learn from the knowledge and experience of First Peoples. There are many inequalities and systemic barriers that First Peoples face, and it is only through the equal recognition and constitutional backing that they rightfully deserve can we start the journey towards reconciliation and healing.
With the establishment of our Reconciliation Action Plan, and through continued employment of, and consultation with First Peoples, we see our role in contributing to reconciliation as fourfold:
- Building recognition and respect for First Peoples through the presentation of ongoing programs that celebrate their artworks, histories, cultures and stories across the past present and future of the moving image
- Listen to and learn from the knowledge and experience of First Peoples past and present especially in matters affecting Country
- Building strong and lasting relationships with First Peoples, based on principles of equal partnership, social justice and respect for past history in order to make a positive impact where it is needed most.
- Supporting the development of a Victorian Treaty and the Uluru Statement from the Heart by encouraging constitutional change and structural reform to empower First Peoples with recognition and voice.
This statement is just one step towards the fulfillment of our commitments to First Peoples, and we are proud to present this statement for consideration.
– Katrina Sedgwick, ACMI Director & CEO 2015–22