Documentary Australia
A message from Dr Mitzi Goldman, CEO Documentary Australia

A message from Dr Mitzi Goldman, CEO Documentary Australia

What makes a great leader? Listening is key.  

Have a listen to the discussion about leadership in the current climate crisis at our online Q&A, Climate Changers: Talking Leadership, as part of the Tipping Point Film Festival. This event is presented by TEDxSydney and our Environmental Accelerator, supported by Intrepid Travel.  

And as a nation, we are certainly at a tipping point with this year's referendum. Now, more than ever, we need leadership from each and every voter - moral leadership we can feel proud of, for the nation and for our future generations. 

One of the most rewarding attributes of any leader, filmmaker, artist, parent, teacher, team player, or fellow citizen, is the ability to listen. Not just to hear, but to listen attentively and deeply. Listening unlocks trust. Listening builds understanding. Listening leads to insight. Insight leads to solutions. Solutions that are collaborative and that are rooted in deep listening tend to work because they are informed by and grounded in lived experience.  

We intuitively know this as documentary filmmakers because to make a good film and to tell someone's story well, we need to listen to them and allow them to speak for themselves, from their experience and to invite us into their lives, to invite us to listen. 

This is what the Uluru Statement from the Heart invites us, as Australians, to do - to listen. The proposed amendment to the Constitution - to listen to the voices of Indigenous people on matters that impact their lives -, is a request from our First Nations people to listen. It is not a request from the government of the day and, if enshrined in our constitution, it can't be abolished by the government of the day. It is not a political issue; it is a moral issue. It is a request that we, as the people of this country, listen to the First Nations people of this country - irrespective of which government is in power. It comes directly from a large collective of voices, whose people have been here longer than anyone else, and whose stories are unlike any others on the planet. The details of the Voice will be mapped out with Indigenous representatives once the principle is agreed to. There is no point in mapping out the details if the principle is not agreed to by the people of this country. The Indigenous representatives will be elected and will change over time, but the principle remains. To listen.  

My family were refugees, welcomed to this land like many other refugees and migrants. We were not the first ones here. We don't have 65,000 years of connection to this country. Yet the place of refugees and migrants in this land, displaced from their countries of origin, has grown to represent almost half of the population. We have found a safe haven and a place to thrive as equal citizens. But our First Nations people have not been supported to thrive, they have survived, remarkably, despite having many laws and policies made for and about them. Settlers and successive government policies have colonised, displaced, dispossessed and separated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from their families for generations. It is extraordinary how strong and resilient Indigenous culture is, despite this. How honourable this offer is to work together towards the repair of broken trust. It is time to accept the invitation. It is time to listen and learn from these stories. The offer comes from the heart. If you don't know, don't vote no, ask and listen with your heart. It is the least we can do.