Last Week's Meeting Wednesday 7 June 2023

At the meeting on Wednesday 7 June the Guest Speaker was Ian Hamm, Chairperson First Nations Foundation and he spoke on the topic of ‘The Voice’.      

President Adrian presided over another busy and well attended Club meeting as his memorable year draws to a close.
Master of Ceremonies Dasun Premadasa opened the meeting and paid respect on behalf of us all to the traditional owners of the land on which we are privileged to meet.
The reflection was delivered club Member Trevor Nink on behalf of Ruth Carlos Martinez who was unable to attend.  See Trevor’s reflection in a separate article.
President Adrian returned to the podium and welcomed members, guests and visiting Rotarians, including Soohyung Kang from South Korea with whom Adrian exchanged Club Banners.
He then called Club Member Robert McGuirk to the podium for presentation of a Paul Harris Fellow Award, in recognition of Robert’s dedicated efforts over several years to deliver the Peace Bells to be installed in the Rotary Melbourne Peace Park.  His citation (see separate article in the bulletin) highlighted Roberts record of distinguished service since joining the Club in 1993, most notably the End Trachoma Project as well as the Peace Bells more recently.  
Garry Fowler then came to the podium to give an update of the annual championship event, conducted at Rod Laver Arena, of the International Tennis Fellowship of Rotarians. 9 Club members participated and a jolly good time was had by all.
President Adrian then gave a lively synopsis of the Club’s engagement with the RI Convention following which he called Robert McGuirk back to the podium to introduce Club member Ian Hamm to tells us about what the forthcoming Indigenous Voice referendum is really all about.  
The following summarises Ian’s address.

Our guest speaker Ian Hamm was introduced by Rob McGuirk.

Rob pointed out that Ian was eminently qualified to talk about the Voice as he has held many senior positions with both the State and Federal Government advising on indigenous affairs. He has also had leadership roles in many indigenous organizations including the Koorie Heritage Trust and the Land and Sea Council.  In addition he has served on the Board of many organizations including the Red Cross, the National Trust, Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Queen Victoria Market. He was also a part of the stolen generation having been separated from his family when he was only three weeks old.

Ian reminded us that the upcoming referendum is about all of us and he said it was important to take away the noise and determine what is the fundamental question we all have to answer?

Previous referendums such as 1946 created our social security system but the real question was “Should our Government support our fellow Australians who are disadvantaged?”

In 1967 the actual question was should we allow the Government to make laws for Indigenous Australians and count them in the census. But the real question was “Are the Aborigines part of our country and of Australia’s future?”

This Voice referendum is not about sovereignty, the High Court or the Executive but building on the 1967 decision that Aborigines do belong in this country,  it is, “Should Aborigines be enabled to talk to Government about things that are about them?” “Should we allow them to be heard?” Yes or No. Each person should look in a mirror and answer that question, and our answers will reveal who we are as Australians. If the answer is yes then the Government will determine how this will work.

Ian's presentation can be viewed in the meeting recording (with apologies for the interrupted audio) via the following links: 

Share this with your friends