50 signatures reached
To: Flinders University Student Association and Student Council
Self-Determination For First Nations Students at Flinders!
My name is Keenan Smith and I am a Wirangu, Mirning & Kokatha person from the far west coast of South Australia. I am the First Nations Students Officer on student council at FUSA. I am putting forward this petition to change the way my position is elected because I believe that the people this role represents should have the ultimate and fair say in who they elect. Currently the role is elected by all students, (both First Nations and non-First Nations) students, during general elections. In the event of casual vacancy for this position, it is selected by members of student council and whoever they see fit to sit on the selection panel to recommend a person for the role. The current voting process is problematic for a number of reasons, but most of all because ultimate power is not held with First Nations people and hence, important aspects of Aboriginal sovereignty are actually overlooked. Aboriginal people in communities across Australia, including my own, are the only ones who are allowed to vote on representative boards like lands councils and legal rights committees. For us, this voting process is culturally incompetent and yet another oppression of our Aboriginal ways of being; our governance practices are being subjugated and overrriden by a group of people, majority of whom are white. For years conversations within our First Nations Student community and in conjunction with FUSA and students have existed around changes to the election processes, but to no avail. FUSA and student council have in the past endorsed the Uluru Statement From The Heart, Black Lives Matter and meaningful action to end Blak Deaths in Custody. All of these movements are about First Nations sovereignty, abolishing racist systems and institutions of power and call for change! Proposed changes to the election regulations for this role support the importance of self determination; it is about abolishing racist systems of power, and it is genuine & appropriate change for the wellbeing and empowerment of First Nations students! FUSA agreed unanimously to decolonise as an institution at the end of 2020, and the only thing to date that has been changed is the name change from Indigenous Students Officer to First Nations Students Officer. Decolonisation requires a ceding of inherently colonial and oppressive ways of being that have failed First Nations people for 230+ years; oppressive practice which is being reconstituted here. I call for changes to election regulations, so that only First Nations Students at Flinders can vote for this role, and I urge this to be done immediately. If you support this and are a current student at Flinders Uni, please sign the petition, provide you student ID number and share it amongst your peers to sign.
Why is this important?
First Nations People of Australia have a right to self-determination, being the first peoples of this country. This means we have a right to determine who we want to represent us as First Nations Students Officer.