Ken Duncan: Iconic Australian photographer reveals why he’s voting no in Voice referendum – after dedicating his life to helping isolated Aboriginal communities
A famous Australian landscape photographer who founded a not-for-profit organization working with Aboriginal communities has revealed why he is voting no in the Voice to Parliament referendum.
Ken Duncan OAM, 68, established the Walk a While Foundation 20 years ago, which seeks to empower First Nations Australians through creative and visual arts.
“They already have a voice and no one listens to them,” Mr. Duncan told TNT Radio.
“That’s why I started this foundation. The government is failing miserably…The indigenous people in some of these isolated communities are living in third world conditions.”
Renowned landscape photographer Ken Duncan has worked with indigenous communities for decades and says spending money on bureaucracies doesn’t help
“We need to go into these communities and ask indigenous people what do you need to achieve sustainable results in your communities.
“We figure out these things, and then be prepared to walk with them for a while and equip them with the skills that will be needed.”
Mr Duncan said “the process is the problem”.
“Even with a Voice, whatever they come up with, it will all have to go through the same process with land councils and things like that which are already failing.”
He likened it to a “big funnel” in which money goes to the top, filters through government and other organizations and a fraction reaches communities where many established programs fail in the first year, he said. -he declares.
“We think Aboriginal people own the land, but that’s not the case, the land councils do. these people cannot do anything on their land without authorization.
“They have a $550 million royal commission into indigenous youth in detention and what has changed? Nothing.
“If they had given us that $550 million, we could have solved some problems.”
“It comes from poverty, these young people go to the cities and they have nothing to do because in these isolated communities you need permits, so how can you start a business.”
Australians will be asked to vote on whether they should amend the Constitution to establish an Indigenous voice after two centuries of silence due to colonial rule.
“We need to stop pouring money at the top and funneling it to these communities, and another level at the top won’t do anything. Personally, I will vote no,” he said.
Mr Duncan said there were “all these unused buildings” in these isolated communities. and when his nonprofit wanted to get one for a creative arts center, it took seven years.
“We need to send teams into these communities to find out what they want and stay there and walk with them for a while, not just throw money at the problem.”
“If you do it right, you will find yourself laid off and these communities will be able to support themselves. »
Supporters of Indigenous Voice say it will be a monumental step forward for Australia, comparable to the granting of the right to vote to Aboriginal people in 1962.