Press Release

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Uluru Bark Petition Advertisement that was in The Australian newspaper on 14thAugust 2015

Uluru Bark Petition - The Australian Advertisement

PRESS RELEASE 20th August, 2015

Uluru Bark Petition has made its way through Parliament

The Uluru Bark Petition has made its way through Parliament after having been presented to the House of Representatives on Thursday morning.

The petition called for the preservation of the current definition of marriage between a man and a woman as it is a sacred union held among Aboriginal People.

Last week it was brought before Senators Eric Abetz and Joanne Lindgren, in which Senator Joanna signed the petition prior to presenting it to the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.

This week the petition was presented to the House of Representatives by Ken Wyatt, the member for Hasluck WA, who is a Aboriginal man with Noongar, Yamitji and Wongi heritage. 

Peter Walker, Aboriginal Elder of Bundjalung and one of the initiators of the petition, spoke at a press conference after it was brought before the house.

“I would like to acknowledge senor elder Uncle Eric Bell of the Ngunawal people on who’s country we are standing, who’s permission we have to speak on this land and I equally acknowledge their elders past and present. We are standing here today as representatives of Aboriginal members who have signed the Uluru Bark Petition, which stated that we are for the current definition of marriage,” Peter Walker said.

He cited the Australian government website that identified marriage as central feature among traditional Aboriginal societies.

“As an elder and traditional custodian of the land I say it is important to allow the indigenous ancient voice to be heard in this debate.”

James Stephens, a Wiradjuri man, also spoke at the press conference stressing that this petition is not an attack on same-sex couples.

“We are not against the [LGBTQIA] community. In fact we know what it is like to be discriminated against. But our point is that our culture and traditions are thousands of years old and form the intricate parts of our belonging … and we need to protect this,” Mr Stephens said.

He also said the presentation of the Uluru Bark Petition was a momentous occasion that held deep meaning to himself and to many of his indigenous and non-indigenous brothers and sisters.

“Together we are forging a strong voice united on [a] sacred issue that is bringing our voice forward and we ask to be respected and the indigenous voice in the nation be heard.”

The petition contained over 70 signatures from members of approximately 47 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations.

Both Mr Walker and Mr Stephens wanted to clarify some facts that they said have been misrepresented in the media.

“First, the Uluru Bark Petition is endorsed and signed by the senior elders of Ernabella, Pitjantjatjara and a senior elder of Mutitjulu Uluru, Yankuntjjara language. Secondly we are simply making a statement on a well-known fact acknowledged by the Australian Government and numerous academics. And that fact is marriage between a man and a woman is sacred between our people,” Mr Stephens said.

Mr Stephens concluded with a call to honour to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities and also the wider community.

“We have spoken and want to be heard. We now invite indigenous and non-indigenous Australians to come forward and stand with us [to] preserve our culture and heritage.”

Press Release

PRESS RELEASE 15th August, 2015 

Aboriginal Elders stand strong in culture – Marriage between man and woman is sacred

Over 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including senior Elders, travelled from various regions including the Kimberleys, Western Australia and Far North Queensland, to gather at Parliament House yesterday to raise a united Indigenous voice on the ‘Same Sex-marriage issue.’

That voice was presented to the Australian government on a traditional petition named the Uluru Bark Petition and was written in Pitjantijatjara language and in English and signed by a senior Elder of Mutitjulu, a traditional owner of Uluru.

The heart of the Petition states that marriage between man and woman is, and has always been, sacred to the oldest living culture on earth. The Petition adds that fathers and mothers – who are deeply honored in Aboriginal culture – also form the “foundation of our families, clans and systems, and pass down our teachings, our culture, our traditions, from generation to generation.”

 As the Uluru Bark Petition is only the second traditional petition ever handed to the Government in the history of Australian Parliament, the receiving of this Petition strongly signifies the importance this stand and declaration has for Aboriginal people across this nation.

Senator Eric Abetz and the newly appointed Aboriginal Senator Joanna Lindgren, who has also signed the Petition, officially received the Uluru Bark Petition from Aboriginal Elders on behalf of the Australian Senate, and in time, shall present the Petition to the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.

The various Aboriginal groups, as represented, submitted the Petition to the nation with confidence, stating, “we do not make any stand based on sexuality, but choose to make our stand based on our ancient continuing culture and our understanding of the sacredness of marriage, that unites us all.”

Previously, Aboriginal people did not have a voice, and when we did, we were often misrepresented in the media. Now it is our time to stand up and speak, to be heard, and to be respected. Pitjantijatjara Elder, Yuminia Anyupa Ken from Ernabella, said, “People are saying in our language no, we want man and woman married, not man to man and woman to woman, we do not want.”

The Indigenous Elders who carried this Petition forward, including Auntie Yumina Anyupa Ken and Uncle Pepaii Carol from Ernabella, respect all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups and peoples and acknowledge that they do not speak for their country or language groups.

However, in putting this Petition forward, we recognise and we are declaring that, the union between man and women is deeply a part of our ancient and continuing culture across all of our communities, and that our fathers and mothers provide the foundation for those communities.

In this hour, the Aboriginal people and senior Elders who have put this declaration forth, now invite and call upon the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community as one Indigenous Australia, and all nations, to stand together with us to ensure that the institution of marriage is not redefined, “and in doing so, honour the sanctity of both the tradition of marriage and the spiritual implication of this sacred union” as one between man and woman.  (extract from the Uluru Bark Petition).


For further interviews please contact:

Uluru Bark Petition Media Office