The Maritime Union of Australia's National Indigenous Officer, Thomas Mayo is the Executive Producer of the new documentary COME WALK WITH US. Mr Mayo is a former wharfie, an author, a signatory to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and a leading voice for the Yes campaign in the lead up to the referendum later this year.
The star of the film, Vicki Morta, is Australia's first Indigenous woman bosun. Vicki works on a huge bauxite tanker that operates off the coast of Far North Queensland. Since 2021, Vicki has embraced the challenge and become an inspiring advocate for the Voice to Parliament.
The film follows Vicki on her personal journey to her home in Far North Queensland to hear stories about her peoples' history from her Elders to the national stage where she has become a prominent champion for the 'Yes' campaign.
The documentary showcases the Maritime Union of Australia's long record of solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people. From wharfie Fred Maynard who led the first all-Aboriginal political voice, the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association back in the mid 1920's to today supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the referendum for its key proposal: a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice.
The film premiered last night to a captivated audience who'd travelled from Newcastle, Port Kembla, Wollongong and across Sydney to Surry Hills for the screening. Afterwards, their spontaneous response was a video message of endorsement and gratitude to Vicki who is still at sea on a lengthy swing aboard her ship.
The film is available as an online documentary and discussion starter via the MUA’s Youtube channel. It is expected to play a crucial role in inspiring audiences with its depiction of the unique and deeply felt perspective of an Indigenous woman at the forefront of a tough industry in the lead up to the referendum later in 2023.
The ACTU National Secretary, Sally McManus gave the film 5 stars. Thomas Mayo introduced the film. Speakers were Bidjigal man and MUA Sydney Branch Indigenous Committee President, Tony Cook, Torres Strait Islander and adviser to the From the Heart campaign, Kenny Bedford, MUA Sydney Branch Secretary Paul Keating. Hosted by the Maritime Union of Australia - Sydney Branch and MCed by the MUA National Women's Officer, Mich-Elle Myers.
QUOTES OF FILM PARTICIPANTS
Vicki Morta, Ngadjoni-Jii & South Sea Islander descendant: We mainly want our voices, we want to be heard. Because at the moment, they're the ones that are telling us what we want, what's best for us.
Uncle Terry O'Shane, KubirriWarra Clan of the Yalanji nation & ex-seafarer : If we don't get a positive outcome in this referendum and I think we will, Australia will stay divided. It will not go away because justice has not been done. That's how important it is.
Aunty Dulcie Flower, Meriam Darnley Island (Erub): If you go out and can show, as I think the Uluru Statement is showing at the moment, that this is for all of Australians, that the whole of Australia will benefit. What the people are saying now is come with us on our journey, the future's there.
Professor John Maynard, Fred Maynard's grandson, Worimi and historian: People don't realize this is not something new. This didn't bob up with the Uluru Statement of the Heart. It is something that our people fought for for nearly 100 years and it's long overdue.
Pat Dodson, Special Envoy for Reconciliation and Implementation of the Uluru Statement
Australian Labor Party: It won't bind the parliament. It won't take the power away from the parliament, but it'll be the voice where they can say, 'Hey, mate, you're doing the wrong thing. Pull up.' If they don't listen, then the public will know that the First Nations people have had a disagreement with the Parliament of the day on some law that they're trying to make that's going to affect their lives.
Semara Jose, Gudjula, Eastern-Kuku Yalanji & Darnley Island, Co-founder and Chairperson, Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG): When I think about my Nana. She was removed from her country and she was raised on Palm Island, she didn't have a say over that. And for me, that's why we need a Voice, because we need to make sure that nothing ever happens like that again in this country.
MEDIA CONTACT: Thomas Mayo – 0437 650 221