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Vendor moments 2017: “This is my people’s country, this is my country, and I don’t understand why we haven’t got it yet”

Allan, a proud Aboriginal man from Wurundjeri country, has been selling The Big Issue Australia in Melbourne for 21 years

My most memorable moment of 2017 was taking part in the Aboriginal march on ‘Invasion Day’, that’s Australia Day (26 January), down the main streets of Melbourne’s CBD. I met one of my cousins who’s Aboriginal, and I’ve never met him before. And I’m starting to meet other cousins and making connections. It was a proud moment walking down Bourke St, you’ve got 10,000 people around you.

I’m hoping the Referendum (for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recognition in the Australian Constitution) will be held*. I’m Wurundjeri born. This is my people’s country, this is my country, and I don’t understand why we haven’t got it yet. We can sit down with the Government and decide, they can have their say, we can have our say, and we can compromise. And we both agree. And then it’s fair.

*As it stands, the Australian Constitution, the nation’s founding document, makes no mention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Constitution can only be changed through a Referendum – a national vote by all Australians.

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